`Greys' take over from the young as big spenders
Over-50s find more money for holidays, eating out, visiting friends, ga rdening and home improvements
Friday 27 January 1995
Two-fifths of people over 55 are from the middle-class, white-collar, ABC1 social groups, constituting a "huge and affluent market". But many older skilled workers - the C2s - also have considerable disposable income.
The report, from the market intelligence group Maps, says that "greys" are becoming more mentally and physically active and are spending more time and money on holidays, eating out, visiting friends, gardening and home improvements. For example, they areone of the biggest buyers of winter sun holidays.
By contrast, parallel research by Maps on the "youth" market - young adults aged 15-24 - suggests that a "sizeable minority" are not interested in social life, partly because they are worried about jobs and partly because social life for many teenagers "means isolating themselves for long periods to play computer games".
A survey by NOP of the 15-24 age group found that only 37 per cent said "enjoying my free time socially" was one of their biggest priorities, along with physical well-being (42 per cent) and "having enough money" (37 per cent). Their natural desire to socialise may be "tempered by a growing realism about future prospects", the report says.
Thirty-five per cent, for example, said their main priority was getting training or qualifications and 28 per cent listed "enjoying my work".
Despite the leisure industry's "obsession" with youth, the over-55s have far higher levels of discretionary income, Maps says. Owner-occupation stands at 66 per cent, more than half have paid off their mortgages, and the 50-65 age group, in particular, are heavy spenders on leisure.
However, they are increasingly discerning, demand value for money and feel patronised or insulted if they are targeted simply on the basis of age. They have been brought up in the consumer society "and are unlikely to move into the stereotypical role of the over-55s of the past".
NOP research found that 61 per cent of respondents in the survey spent most on newspapers, magazines and books, followed by gardening (45 per cent), visiting friends and family (33 per cent), eating and drinking out (28 per cent), insurance policies (28 per cent), home improvements (26 per cent), and UK holidays (22 per cent).
The most affluent group are looking for mainstream holidays, not those targeted at older people. The over-45s, for example, account for 55 per cent of the winter sun market; cruises are highly popular.
In 1961 there were 16 million people over 50 in the UK. By 2021 there will be 22.5 million - an increase of 40 per cent against an overall population rise of 15 per cent.
The proportion of over-50s will grow from 31 per cent today to 37 per cent in 2021.
However, the research also points out that the least affluent group, the unskilled workers and state pensioners, still outnumber the better-off. Since life expectancy is increasing, this group poses serious financial and social problems.
"Grey" Market and "Youth" Market reports; Maps, 4 Crinan Street, London N1 9UE; £495 each.
- 1 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 2 West poised to join forces with President Assad in face of Islamic State
- 3 Mother fed her daughter tapeworms to make her skinny for pageant
- 4 Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
- 5 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
West poised to join forces with President Assad in face of Islamic State
Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – as hunt begins for killer
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
£30000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A global investment management fi...
£65000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-(CCIE, CC...
£70000 - £80000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Analyst - (CCIE, C...
£60000 - £80000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-(Design, ...