Unmarried consumers are big business in China, and as the number of single consumers grows, so too does the demand for services and products that meet their needs.

The latest growth sectors are customised, small-scale home appliances to specifically cater for the single household, plus singles dining – restaurants targeting the lone diner.

China Daily reports that the singles economy is being fuelled by the growing number of appearance and quality-conscious young singles across the country.

Some e-retailers have started stocking large numbers of singles-friendly products – basically scaled-down versions of items that are both more economic and more convenient for the single consumer. These include items such as small, foldable water boilers, and mini rice cookers. Mini washing machines that launder just five garments at a time are also popular.

“Sales of small home appliances are hot, indicating a booming singles economy,” said Pu Zhengning, associate dean of the School of Economics and Management at Southeast University in Nanjing. “Now, a large number of adults live alone, and some others live in different cities (from) their partners.”

“The trend will become more prominent as the number of singles increases, changing notions of tradition,” Pu added.

Meanwhile, many restaurants are looking to cater to the solo diner, according to China Daily. Some barbecue and hot-pot restaurants in the country now offer single pots and single diner-friendly seating.

A search for “barbecue for one person” and “hot pot for one person” on Dazhongdianping, the Chinese review app, turned up around 70 restaurants in Beijing alone, the paper said.

Food retailers are also adapting their products, with items such as a 100g bag of rice and a 200ml bottle of wine.

“Being alone doesn't mean being lonely,” Neil Wang, president of consultancy Frost & Sullivan in China, said.

“More singles are quite well educated and some choose to stay single. A small portion of food designed for one person makes single diners feel good, helping them to enjoy their dining experiences," he added.

Sourced from China Daily; additional content by WARC staff