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Rise of One Person Households Boost Demand For Small Start ups

By March 1, 2017 at 7:11 am
Rise of one-person household affects choice of start-ups (Photo : Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

One-person households are on the rise in most developed countries, including South Korea. The phenomenon is not only affecting the family structure in the country but businesses as well.

Reports have revealed that a survey of 2 billion households around the world showed that about 15 percent are one-person households (OPHs).

Countries with the highest rates of OPHs were clustered around Europe, with Denmark, Finland, and Germany leading the pack. Meanwhile, countries like Japan, the US, Canada, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand have moderately high levels of OPHs.

The findings were also reflected in a recent report by the Korea Institute of Health and Social Affairs (KIHSA) that showed that the number of one-person/ single-person households last year reached 5.06 million.

Statistics have shown that the ratio of OPHs would continue to rise and will become the dominant household structure in the next two decades.

The global rise in one-person households in developed countries can be attributed to a number of factors, like increased wealth and better standards of living. Aside from having the means to live alone, more people are opting to pay more just to enjoy their privacy, individualism and the freedom to live how they want to. This holds particularly true for women.

The notion that people who live alone are lonely are also being debunked, in South Korea at least. A survey conducted by the KB Financial Group Research Institute revealed that 7 in 10 OPHs were satisfied with the arrangement, with women claiming they were very happy living alone.

The rise in single-person households is already causing an impact on businesses. Convenience stores in South Korea have reported an astounding boost in sales of lunch box meals. Companies like LG Electronics and Dongbu Daewoo Electronics have also been developing appliances geared to single households.

There's also an increase in interest in the cafe or bakery business. A survey of people who signed up for the upcoming International Franchise Seoul Expo showed that 65 percent of respondents are keen on opening either a cafe or a bakery.

Part of the interest was due to capital constraints, but some analysts believe it's also due to the economic slump and the rise of single-person households. Experts say desserts are being considered as affordable luxuries while private book cafes draw in consumers from one-person households.

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