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 Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Bare bones: Making bones transparent

27.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions

27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

From volcano's slope, NASA instrument looks sky high and to the future

27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>