Ami Caruso, a 35-year-old office manager, is bright, gregarious and loves her life. Oh, and she’s single. Ms. Caruso says many of her married friends and family see her lack of a boyfriend or husband as a problem that needs to be fixed. But while Ms. Caruso would love Mr. Right to come along one day, she’s quite content right now – she has a great career, owns her own house and has a circle of friends whom she says ‘complete’ her life.
The growth in 30-something singles is part of an international trend that is only set to grow due to a convergence of economic and demographic factors. According to a recent Euromonitor survey of 40 of the world’s largest economies, the number of single person households around the globe has increased in the last 12 years, with 30-something females making a significant contribution to that increase.
It’s a segment that researchers have labeled the Diamond Collective, or single women 28-40. Emerging as a result of women getting married and having children later, the Diamond Collective woman is firmly focused on herself and her career. She has a “work hard, play hard” attitude, and she’s driven by her immediate circle of friends.
The economic and behavioral profile of the Diamond Collective differs quite significantly from the younger, Generation Y segment (often mistakenly lauded by marketers as the consumer target to pursue).
The Diamond Collective segment works the longest hours in paid employment of any other segment; due to her increasing wealth, penchant for spending it on herself and habit of sharing her brand relationships actively with her friends, she represents a lucrative target for marketers.
The Inner Circle
Once pitied and scorned for their lackluster love lives, single 30-something women are celebrating their social lives and surrounding themselves with a “pseudo-family” – usually two or three other women. They form an inner circle that becomes the predominant dynamic in their purchase- and decision-making behavior.
It makes sense when you look at how they spend their time. Their career focus means they’re spending nearly three hours longer at work each week than other segments, making it hard to reach them with traditional media. Add to that the increased time she spends with friends, and capturing her attention with a brand message becomes almost impossible.
Talking about a typical week in her life, Ms. Caruso is typical of this key challenge for marketers. “I can go for weeks without watching any television,” she says. “I might listen to the radio a bit here and there in the car.” So how does the Diamond Collective learn about new brands? From their inner circle. They’re more likely than any other segment to turn to their friends for advice and recommendations on products and services.
This represents an exciting opportunity for marketers. Targeting the Diamond Collective means not just marketing and selling to them, but also to their inner circle, so it becomes a multi-layered sales opportunity. Certain brands are catching on and helping to facilitate inner circle conversations by hosting Girls Night Out-type events, along with other promotional offers that incentivize referrals.
Work Hard, Play Hard
The other aspect that makes the Diamond Collective such a lucrative segment is her propensity to spend. In particular, the Diamond Collective is not shy to spend money on herself. She spends a lot on pampering and justifies her expenditure with the fact that she works hard and deserves it.
This is particularly reflected in their online shopping behavior. In a recent study into the online shopping behaviors of women across the U.S., researchers at HY Connect discovered that the product categories where the Diamond Collective segment over-indexes online were all relatively self-indulgent. While moms are over-indexing on home insurance, e-Bay and baby products online, the Diamond Collectives are spending up big on wine, lingerie and beauty products.
In light of this, it’s really no surprise that Diamond Collectives have by far the largest credit card debts. She earns significantly more than the younger Generation Y segment, but she also spends significantly more. According to the HY Connect, the Diamond Collective is 50 percent more likely than the younger segment to have a credit card debt that is double what it was five years ago.
So how do you reach the Diamond Collective and ensure your brand is getting a share of their expenditure? According to Ms. Caruso, it’s quite easy. “Don’t stereotype all women my age as being married with 2.5 kids,” she says. “Make it easy for me to involve my friends and give me a customer experience worth talking about.”