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In an ageing society, understanding and engaging with ‘the older consumer’ is of pressing interest for businesses who want to realise the potential of the market. But it is not an easy market to understand or describe.
A key issue to be addressed by marketers is to avoid a homogenisation of older people. The diversity of consumer spending of this group is often lost in ageist perceptions of ‘what older people want’. Despite this however, it remains to be seen if the commonalities of ageing – such as wealth depletion and physiological changes – nudge older people to gravitate to a norm.
In Dec 2010, ILC-UK and the Personal Finance Resource Centre (PFRC) at the University of Bristol published a report which explored what and how older people spent their income (Consumption Patterns Among Older Consumers). The evidence from this report fed into the ILC-UK report for Age UK on older consumers (The Golden Economy).
ILC-UK and PFRC have teamed up again to further explore issues around consumption and old age, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council Secondary Data Analysis Initiative. At this seminar we presented new evidence which explores patterns of expenditure among older people and considers what explains these.
During the seminar we:
Considered how our spending varies as we age, including setting out average and overall spending by age group;
Segmented older households based on their patterns of expenditure;
Considered the validity of a single ‘older consumer’ model.