Household sizes are rapidly changing worldwide, creating new consumer trends and changing the behaviour patterns of household dwellers. Households are contracting in terms of inhabitants but growing in terms of room numbers, thereby offering more floorspace for lifestyle choices. The long-term effect is growing numbers of single-person, childless and elderly households, creating opportunities in recreation, healthcare and labour. The downside is the contraction of lucrative family markets.
There has been a steady decrease in the number of persons per household globally, with this rate of decline set to continue going forward. A key milestone was reached in 2000 when the average number of inhabitants dipped below four for the first time. Over the 1990-2030 period, households with one to three persons will double and treble in size.
Increasingly, more households are made up of single persons (the fastest growing household type globally through to 2030) or two persons/couples. Global household ageing is also creating much more elderly household dwellers, that are more likely to be living without children.
The rise in the number of households without children is boosting the demand for discretionary spending, as these household types often have more disposable income to spend on items such as leisure and recreation, hotels and catering, and communications.
Although homes are contracting in persons, they are becoming larger in terms of room numbers. Globally, households with five rooms or more will see the fastest expansion over 1990-2030. This household type is on its way to improving from being the second-most popular in 1990 to becoming the most common room size by 2030.
More rooms per household equals to more opportunities for appliance and furniture companies, as homeowners look to fit out their expanding homes. The result has been strong growth for home appliance retailers.
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