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end of 2017, accounting for about 16 percent of the population, ac
cording to the National Bureau of Statistics. Marriage registrations have fallen every year
since 2014, while the divorce rate has risen for 16 consecutive years, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
Dining, traveling and pursuing activities individually have also become increasingly popular with singles in China.
Tang Chuan, a researcher with Sinolink Securities, said that without family burdens, singles
seem to be less inclined to save money, and their willingness to spend offers great potential for boosting the economy.
Sinolink Securities conducted research on singles born from 1985 to 1995 and found that about 40 percent of those in first- an
d second-tier cities live from paycheck to paycheck, while in lower-tier cities, the proportion is as high as 76 percent.
has made tremendous economic achievements, and they have enjoyed affluent material conditions since childho
od. So they set higher standards for life and ask for better quality and unique experiences,” Tang said.
“Compared with the older generation, they are more willing to pay for conveni
ence, entertainment, mental stimulation, companionship and education that will benefit their future careers.”
George Ren, a senior partner with global consultancy Roland Berger, said many companies have star
ted to respond to this demographic shift in recent years, as they have seen great potential in the singles’ economy.
“They have made products of smaller size, in smaller packages or with more divided functions. They have also deve
loped unique and personalized services to cater to the diversified demands from single people,” he said.
so single people think it is a waste of time compared with ordering takeout,” adding that on major food
delivery platform Meituan-Dianping, about 65 percent of the orders are made by singles ages 20 to 30.
Others choose to dine out. A recent report by global market research company Kantar Worldpanel found that 46 percent of interviewees said they had eaten
alone in the past 24 hours, up by 9 percent from 2017. Some 16 percent of respondents said they preferred to eat out alone.
Liu Chang, 24, a postgraduate at Renmin University of China in Beijing, said she likes to ex
perience celebrity restaurants recommended by food review platforms. She has visited them alone many times.
“Finding friends you like to dine with can be difficult sometimes. In view of this, I would rath
er eat alone, which can also be enjoyable and relaxing, as I can do whatever I like,” she said.
many Chinese leave their hometowns to make a living in big cities, where they live alone. This makes it inevitable that they will do things on their own at times.
“Due to life’s stresses, sometimes they will actively look for the chance to escape from social interaction to enjoy solitude. As a re
sult, dining, traveling and singing karaoke or watching movies alone has become more common,” she said.
Chen added that the perception of single people has witnessed profound
changes, as there is no longer any stigma attached to them and many prefer to remain alone.
“Whether in TV shows or movies, there are increasing scenarios that tell people they sho
uld remain independent, and it is possible to live a nice life without getting married, especially for women,” she said.
“I was about to be 30 and wanted to celebrate this special birthday in Europe, but I couldn’t find any companion to go with
me,” he said. “So, I visited Europe on my own and found doing so could be pleasant, as it enabled me to change my rou
te and meet interesting travelers. I even met a backpacker who guided me to the Alps.”
Xu Xiaolei, a spokesman for China Youth Travel Service, said the number of people traveling alone has grown steadily in rec
ent years. Last year, 10 percent of the company’s revenue came from single travelers, mostly ages 18 to 30.
“For the younger generation, experiencing unique cultu
res and relaxing their minds and bodies are the main reasons for traveling, rather than con
necting with others or sightseeing. So they won‘t stop travelling because they lack a companion,” Xu said.
In tour groups, guides will usually pay more attention to solo travelers, making them feel less lonely or embarrassed, he said.