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Japan is entering a new stage of solo living and hence the rise of the “Single Economy”. Singles have become the mainstream consumers and this has led to the expansion of opportunities in the single business market. Restaurants are increasing the amount of tables they offer to single people and now business opportunities are appearing for solo karaoke and solo weddings. Singles are less frugal with their money and tend to spend more money on fancy products or services.
Singles business opportunity create eating alone culture
Business opportunities to access the ‘singles’ market have increased due to the expanding culture of solo living in Japan. For example, Japanese manufacturers have now introduced individual-sized hot pot, based on the eating alone culture. Ebara Foods spent ¥900 million on a new production line which produces individual-sized hotpots called Petit. In 2015, Mizkan Foods found that sales increased for individual-sized hotpot but declined for the shared set. Kikkoman attempted to enter the ‘career woman’ market by introducing the “Plus hotpot” featuring rich dietary fiber and lactic acid bacteria as part of a balanced diet.
Creative products for individual are appreciated
A manufacturer has introduced a creative product for individuals. An easy and convenient egg salad containing boiled eggs and potatoes. Customers only need to “massage” its outer packaging and the dressing will mix with the salad. This product is widely appreciated and its sales were 30 percent higher than predicted.
Single table is convenient and offers privacy
Japanese restaurants have started to launch single table services. The famous Ichiran ramen has more than half of its tables designed for singles in every branch. The single tables are divided by partitions and the ramen is served directly from the hole in front of the seat. It’s a new consumption pattern of convenience and privacy. At the same time, more and more Japanese universities plan to introduce single tables to their campuses. Some stores are offering single-sized yakiniku and shabu-shabu meals. For example, Yoshinoya and Tenya provide a single-sized meal service at branches next to train stations.
Single economy breaks group activity pattern
It’s interesting that karaoke, which is known for being a group recreational activity, now has a new business model called Karaoke-One. This is where you can enjoy singing alone in a room. There are even boxes designed for females only. Companies are now launching solo wedding trip services which combines travel and wedding photography. Cerca, a Kyoto travel agency, launched a two-day wedding photography trip which cost ¥3,000 to ¥4,000 for females. This program has been well-received by 35 to 60-year-old single ladies.
Small products are taking off
The Single Economy is becoming more elaborate and miniature. Small sized electric pots, washing machines and vehicles have all emerged on the market. BibiLab launched a tent for singles at the price of ¥6,000. It’s designed with ventilation, insulation and a lock. The single tent can be stored and expanded easily and is less cumbersome than traditional tents with many different parts, which has proved to be popular in the ‘singles’ market. Japanese crowdfunding net offered single’s cave which is designed as one’s own little world. There are now many products but also many business opportunities to tap into the ‘singles’ market.