Spending: The shopper of 2001: older, richer and more discerning

The average British shopper in 2001 will be richer, older and more picky than today and will prefer out-of-town malls to the high street, new research says.

A report by retail researchers Verdict on consumer demand in 2001 concludes that there will be a fundamental shift in patterns of shopping and income distribution over the next five years. A sharp fall in the birth rate 30 years ago together with higher youth unemployment means that by 2001 there will be fewer people in their twenties with less to spend than there are today. Older people will have the greatest spending power, benefiting from inherited wealth, building society windfall gains and insurance company flotations. The report concludes that consumers over the next five years will be much more demanding and will want to shop around - at major shopping centres rather than secondary high streets".

Verdict says the boom markets in retail over the next five years will be electrical products, driven by computer games, software and accessories. Television sales will be boosted by the advent of digital technology and mail order and sportswear will show strong growth and consumers will switch back to brands. Childrenswear and food sales will show the weakest growth.