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People born in the 1940s not the spenders we thought they were

People born in the 1940s are often portrayed as having both the means and the willingness to spend money on consumption, but how do they appear in the consumption statistics? According to the Consumption Report 2009, published by the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, they top the list in terms of disposable income per consumption unit, but do not seem to be such great spenders.

Like younger generations, Swedes born in the 1940s like to travel. Yet, they do not seem very interested in spending money on clothes, personal care and hygiene, home decoration and furnishing and electronics. In fact, they spend less than average in these areas.

This suggests that they tend to be rather thrifty with their money. Not even their grandchildren seem to benefit much from their wealth, since their spending on presents and gifts is quite average. All this and more is spelled out in detail in the Consumption Report 2009.

'These findings agree with what researchers from the Centre for Consumer Science found in a study of 55+ consumers. "Our" people born in the 1940s tend to do quite well economically and want to live a comfortable life, but they are also home-loving do-gooders who recycle, shop ecologically, show interest in their own health and act as good citizens in all possible ways,' says Helene Brembeck, professor at the Centre for Consumer Science.

The Consumption Report 2009 is based on statistics from 2008 that are compared with data from 2007 and 1998. Private consumption decreased by 0.3 % from 2007 to 2008, while some areas of consumption grew significantly in the same period: Communication services (+5%); Health and hospital services (+3.9%) and Leisure time and culture (+2.4%). Transportation was the area that decreased the most from 2007 to 2008 (-8.4%). The areas of consumption that grew the most from 1998 to 2008 were: Communication services (+123%); Leisure time and culture (+73%); Furnishings, household equipment and routine maintenance of the house (+77%) and Clothing and footwear (+60%).

The Consumption Report is published yearly and provides an overview of private consumption in Sweden by presenting public statistics on household expenditures and in-depth analyses by consumption researchers. The report is compiled by Ulrika Holmberg, PhD, and Niklas Hansson, PhD, and is published by the Centre for Consumer Science at the School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg.

The Consumption Report 2009 can be downloaded at

For more information, please contact:
Ulrika Holmberg +46 (0)31 786 56 06,
Niklas Hansson +46 (0)31 786 59 90,
Helene Brembeck +46 (0)31-786 58 28,

Helena Aaberg | idw
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