Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Retirees spending freely

14.12.2007
As the ‘baby boomer’ generation begins to join the ranks of the retired so policy makers must a fresh look at their behaviour as consumers, says a new study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

Far from being simply media creations, it seems that the caricatures of ‘silver surfers’ and ‘Saga-louts’ have some basis in truth as the lives of older people increasingly mirror those of the rest of society in terms of their spending and leisure activities.

‘From passive to active consumers: ageing and consumption in Britain 1963-1998’ - research based on an analysis of the Family Expenditure Survey (FES) made compared how people’s spending on goods and services as well as household income has changed over time.

Dr Paul Higgs, from University College London, who led the research, explained: “Preceding studies have neglected the changing cultural context of the consumption patterns of older people, and so we wanted to see how they had participated in consumer society.”

The study explored expenditure patterns by retired households, with particular emphasis on food, fuel, alcohol, clothing and household goods. Results suggest that retired households do not now differ greatly from each other in their expenditure, despite some variations based on income.

Overall, successive generations of retirees have increased their consumption of goods with, for example, later generations spending more on leisure activities such as holidays.

According to Dr Higgs, most retired households are now participating as contemporary consumers. He explained: “Those retiring today helped pioneer the creation of the post-war consumer culture - young people in the 50s, 60s and 70s had more money than previous generations and an increasing range of things to spend it on. We believe that this experience has informed the way they behave in retirement, with recent retirees strongly defined by the impact of consumer society on their lives and expectations.”

All income groups spent less on food – down from just under a third to just over a quarter of total expenditure – whilst spending on household goods rose from around four to just under 10 per cent. Spending on fuel was reduced, while that on alcohol and clothing remained broadly similar.

Researchers also compared patterns of ownership of selected consumer goods amongst the retired population compared to the employed and unemployed, and found that patterns had converged over time. Whereas the spending habits of these different groups was distinct in the 1960s, ownership of telephones, televisions and fridge/freezers, for example, have since increased and evened out. Ownership of newer household goods such as microwave ovens and VCRs showed similar patterns over much shorter periods of time, with clear differences in 1993 narrowing by 2001.

However, the research also highlighted that whilst levels of washing machine and PC ownership had risen for all groups, the retired and unemployed continued to lag behind the employed. Less than two per cent of retired households owned a PC in 1993, and whilst this figure had risen ten-fold by 2001, PC ownership in employed households more than doubled to over half during the same period.

Danielle Moore | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms the brain
26.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>