Fresh words such as single economy and virtual love are increasingly appearing in the public eye. The rapid growth of the single population has become a feature of the times that cannot be ignored. The latest data shows that in 2018, the number of single-person households in China reached 75.56 million, accounting for 16.69% of the total households (a single-person household refers to a household with only one person). Such a high percentage of the single population has an effect on the economic and social levels, but it happens to form the pros and cons of the coin. On the positive side, the single economy has become increasingly hot and has grown into a strong consumption growth engine. On the other hand, the growth of the single population has laid a hidden worry for future social development.
There are many reasons for the growth of the single population. On the surface, the postponement of marriage age, the change of women’s concept of marriage and love, the imbalance of the sex ratio between men and women, and the increase in the divorce rate are the direct reasons. But at a deeper level, it is fundamentally caused by economic development. Economic independence has given more people the foundation to live alone, and this has given them the confidence to be an “independent portal.”
The single economy, which is spurred by single groups, has become a consumer market segment that can almost be paralleled by the elderly economy and the infant and child economy. From the perspective of consumption characteristics, seeking convenience, pleasure, spiritual sustenance and self-improvement are the main consumption directions of single people. According to research data, China’s single adult population has reached 240 million, and their spending power is amazing, supporting a trillion-scale consumer market.
But behind the hot single economy, the social problems that accompany the rapid growth of single groups have become increasingly prominent. The growth of the single group is like tearing down the dominoes, which will cause a series of problems, such as the declining birth rate, increasing aging, and delaying the overall development of the national economy. In the long run, an excessively high proportion of the single population will indeed affect the overall social and economic development; but in the short term, the strong consumption power of the single population does indeed promote economic development. This seems to be contradictory and confusing.
In fact, this is a problem that society will inevitably face at a certain stage of development. From a market perspective, capital and businesses are profit-seeking. As the single population grows, they will inevitably cater to them. For example, in the field of small home appliances, social marriage and love, and pet consumption, a large number of designs and products for singles have emerged to meet their various needs. This will further stimulate their desire for consumption, and then form a virtuous economic cycle of “expansion of demand, stimulating consumption and promoting production”. This cycle gradually spreads to more industries, and the single economy is getting hotter.
However, whether this growing enthusiasm will eventually exacerbate the social problems of singles is also doubtful. To a certain extent, if you choose to be single, there will be a segmented consumer market that can fully and appropriately meet various needs, which can indeed aggravate the solidification of the single circle. For example, it is undeniable that Japan’s housing economy is so developed now that it has an inescapable “responsibility” for promoting the prosperity of the housing culture. Therefore, the popularity of the single economy will boost the economy, and there are also “traps” that aggravate the solidification of the circle and cause more serious social problems.
How to overcome this trap has become a difficult problem at hand. If you want to cross this hurdle, it may be difficult to achieve only by the market’s own adjustment. Capital pursues profit, dictated by nature, there is no “original sin” at all. Fundamentally, to overcome the trap of the single economy, it is still necessary to solve the social problems that have intensified singletonization from the root cause. This requires a multi-pronged approach from economic, cultural, social, policy and other aspects to deal with the social challenges brought about by the rapid growth of the single population.
The single economic trap will be overcome sooner or later. At present, the single economy is in its infancy, and the social benefits it produces are more pros than disadvantages, especially at the moment when consumption is weakened by the epidemic, and it needs the firepower of the single economy. So, for the moment, let the single economy go viral.