The “Shunned” Single Woman

48% of Never-Married Women Feel “Non-Existent” in Advertising

56% of Single Women 30–45 Feel Unfairly Represented in TV / Movies

Hill Holliday and Match Media Group Partner in Single Women Research Study

“Singlism” Discrimination is Real for Unmarried, Childless Women 30–45

BOSTON--()--Are marketers shunning the single woman? A new research study released by Hill Holliday’s Origin with Match Media Group reveals some surprising statistics about unmarried women ages 30–45 who do not have children. The study examines how these women see themselves in advertising and media, their shopping and purchasing habits, and how they position themselves across social, professional, and dating profiles. The eye-opening results challenge some basic assumptions about single women and have broad implications for marketers.

Data was collected from over 1,200 adults ages 30+ in the United States. The full study is available here Among the dozens of data points:

How women see themselves portrayed in advertising and media:

  • 48% of women surveyed agree that single, childless women are “non-existent” in advertising
  • 56% of single women 30–45 feel that they’re unfairly represented in TV / movies

Gaps in how these women approach a variety of purchases:

  • Only 35% of women surveyed feel comfortable buying a car on their own
  • Only 26% feel comfortable traveling alone

How they position themselves across different profiles:

  • 24% of surveyed women wouldn’t share their relationship status on a professional application
  • 44% would not share their salary goals (making $75K or more annually) on a dating site

“Centuries ago, unmarried women over age 25 were considered a burden on their families, and were often shunned from social circles,” said Lesley Bielby, Chief Strategy Officer at Hill Holliday. “So, unless they were lucky enough to have the talent and drive of Jane Austen or Louisa May Alcott, faced a life of modest accomplishments and possible financial hardship. In 2018, this kind of bias has no place or relevance in modern culture. These women are independent, accomplished, and have tremendous spending power — it’s time to recognize that.”

The study also included an experiment to determine whether single women adjust how they portray themselves based on social setting. Respondents were asked to complete a professional application, social media biography, or dating site profile. Responses found that single women were downplaying their professional accomplishments and ambition in dating profiles. A simultaneous social experiment was conducted by by testing two different profiles of the same woman, and demonstrated that when professional ambition and accomplishments were highlighted, the profile received 2x more engagement and responses from others on

“Women still worry that they will intimidate a potential partner if they show their business acumen and achievements, yet our profile test proves that to be a big mistake,” said Dr. Helen Fisher, biological anthropologist and Chief Scientific Advisor for Match. “The professional, successful, independent woman is someone men admire and are eager to love.”

The research findings indicate there’s an opportunity for brands to portray single women differently, and to acknowledge their independence and ambition in an authentic, accurate way. Single women are not tied to the kitchen, nor are they tied to the office, pulling up the slack for everyone else. And they are not sitting around and waiting for Mr. Right. They are buying homes, cars, jewelry, and planning vacations for themselves. They are preparing for retirement, going back to school, and investing. Yet many of these industries may be taking too long to catch up with them both in the services they offer, and in how they talk to them.

The topic will be the subject of a lunchtime panel discussion among C-suite marketers at the Girls’ Lounge during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity on June 21.

The purchasing power of U.S. women ranges from $5 trillion to $15 trillion annually, with women controlling more than 60% of all personal wealth. Women purchase over 50% of traditionally “male” products, including automobiles, home improvement products, and consumer electronics.

According to Pew Research Center data, the total number of single, never-married people is continuing to rise, and more than half of them are women — indicating they’re a growing, valuable segment. Origin focused specifically on this life stage because it’s past the average age of marriage and is an emotionally rich segment to explore and understand the deeper complexity of being single today.

About Hill Holliday
Fighting the daily share battle in the noisiest categories. It’s what we do. Hill Holliday is proud to be one of the top creative marketing agencies in the country, with over 600 employees across our network. Since 1968, we’ve built our business on winning that daily share battle for our clients in the noisiest and most competitive categories. Blending superior creative, media, and technology, we deliver game-changing ideas for industry leaders like Bank of America, Dunkin' Donuts, Planet Fitness, Tempur Sealy International, Calvin Klein, Party City, Great Wolf Lodge, Capella University, Novartis, Johnson & Johnson, Simple Mobile, Frontier Communications, and Smuckers. For more about our people, our work, and our culture, please visit

About Origin
Origin is a market research company specializing in applied psychological and data sciences, owned by Hill Holliday. Staffed by survey methodologists, consumer psychologists, and data strategists, Origin brings a rigorous set of methods to help solve any business challenge. While Origin has a strong foundation in traditional market research methods, they are also pioneering new analytics techniques that merge market research with machine learning and pattern recognition tools. This allows Origin to augment any survey research with additional data sources to help triangulate deeper and more powerful insights. Origin’s clients include Calvin Klein, Dunkin’ Donuts, Bank of America, Planet Fitness, Party City, Great Wolf Lodge, Viveve, Tufts Dental, Strayer, Agio Cigars, and Monro. To find out more, visit us at

About Match Media Group
Match Media Group is the world’s leader in online dating services, with a portfolio of more than 45 brands including, OkCupid, Tinder, Meetic, and PlentyOfFish. Equipped with data and insights from a network of over 70 million global active users spending 3.3 billion minutes connecting every month, Match Media Group serves as a single point partner for brands to make meaningful connections with a wide and influential audience, leading to increased engagement, sales, and brand awareness. Match Media Group continues to revolutionize the dating landscape with new advertising and data products as well as audience intelligence and activation capabilities launching across its portfolio.


Hill Holliday
Tracy Brady
SVP Communications


Hill Holliday
Tracy Brady
SVP Communications