The Drivers and Opportunities of Changing Household Size

October 2016

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.

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Households are becoming smaller in person-size

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.

Fewer inhabitants translates into more childless, elderly and single-person homes

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.

Childless households create opportunities

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.

Households growing in room size

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, more goods

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.

Introduction

Scope
Key findings
Households and rooms: Global overview
Developing homes have most persons, advanced have most rooms
More single parents drive lower home-dweller density

Persons Per Home in Decline

Global trend of declining residents per household
Emerging markets: Large households contracting rapidly
Advanced markets: Only one or two people per home
Why are there fewer people per household?

Household Room Size Expands

Households with 5+ rooms grow fastest
Similar growth trends for developing and developed markets
Why are households becoming more roomy?

Opportunities

Childless homes open new markets
Single-person households impact labour and healthcare
More rooms, more goods

Conclusion

Urbanisation and lower birth rates drive persons per home down
Consequences of rapid urbanisation on emerging markets
Fewer persons and more rooms provide diverse opportunities
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