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Rising Rates of Single Women Bring Potential for Apparel, Personal Care, Luxury Cars, Morgan Stanley Says

Growth in the numbers of single women could bring significant tailwinds to companies in the apparel, footwear, food away from home, personal care and luxury and electric vehicles sectors as their spending outpaces average households, Morgan Stanley said.

The investment bank estimated that 45% of prime, working-age women will be single in 2030, up from 41% as of last year. If women do get married they’re waiting longer and if they have kids, they’re having fewer, Morgan Stanley said in a report Thursday that examined the economic impact of single women.

Labor force participation among women is rising, and while there is still a wage gap between salaries for the genders, past drivers of the difference are diminishing, the bank said.

“We expect the wage gap will continue to close as firms reward diversity,” Morgan Stanley said. “But spending will be driven by the fact that women are delaying marriage and child-bearing.”

Activewear and off-price retailers are positioned to benefit in apparel and footwear, with Nike (NKE), lululemon athletica (LULU), Ross Stores (ROST) and TJ Maxx parent TJX Cos. (TJX) among the potential retailers that could gain.

While single men outspend their female counterparts and households in food away from home, the gap narrows at higher income levels so there are “advantages for the restaurant industry from a closing wage gap,” Morgan Stanley said. Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) and Starbucks (SBUX) are well positioned in the sector, the bank said.

Tesla (TSLA) could also benefit as women’s incomes come closer to men’s and in personal care, Ulta Beauty (ULTA), Estee Lauder (EL) and Sephora, a division of Paris-based LVMH, are potential standouts.

“In autos, we believe growth in the number of single women will drive growth in the luxury and electric vehicle segment,” Morgan Stanley said. “The beauty segment will benefit from Millennial and Gen Z generational tailwinds in the coming decade, and growth in women’s incomes will both encourage and supplement these trends.”

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