Brands unsure how to cater for single person households, claims Bridgethorne


Brands may be missing out on revenue from a potentially high value demographic group by not adequately catering for the soaring number of single occupancy households in the UK.

That’s the message from Bridgethorne, the category management, shopper marketing and customer development specialist, which says the issue is now being raised on a regular basis by brands as part of their preparation for range reviews and their development of category strategies.

Currently 29% of the UK’s 26.4m households consist of only one person and single-person households are projected to increase by 163,000 a year to 10.9m in 2031, by which point they could outnumber any other housing group.

“The rapidly increasing number of lone occupants has implications for brands, and own label suppliers, but also presents opportunities for them,” explains Bridgethorne director, John Nevens.

“Shoppers obviously behave differently according to their circumstances. Somebody living on their own will not necessarily want to buy the same product in the same quantities as others and this will have an impact on the format and diversity of how products are presented, from packaging to portion size. Manufacturers and retailers are very focused on catering for the family unit when suppliers could help deliver additional category growth by focusing on the needs of the increasing number of people who choose to live on their own.”

The battle for shopper loyalty is becoming more and more vital. Nevens said if a supplier can develop its offering based on category insights that demonstrate how to influence the shopper at the point of purchase, whether in-store or on-line, the opportunity for success could be significant.

“If a supplier is able to demonstrate how they can make their category work for all shoppers and grow incrementally this will allow them to develop and maintain a positive working relationship with the large retailers. And in the current market dynamic that’s the only place to be.”

In this sense, effective category development is critical. It helps suppliers focus on the major drivers and tactics that will increase value and often volume and should be underpinned by consumer and shopper research and data driven insights. If manufacturers can identify short and long term quantified strategic opportunities for the category and the brand, this will increase expertise and multi – dimensional levels of influence leading to brand growth ahead of the category.

Bridgethorne said it works with manufacturers to develop the quantified vision and category plan that will help them increase their sales. This is a flexible, insight-based, three phased approach – with consultative, managed or directed options – with as much input from Bridgethorne personnel, all of whom have hands on industry experience, as is needed to suit the manufacturer’s business objectives and resource needs.

Bridgethorne said it helps suppliers identify and quantify specific revenue opportunities as well as transforming them into tactics and actionable plans.