Shopping-savvy Saga generation living the high life

21 November 2007
The rate of spending among the over 65s is rising faster than any other demographic group according to the latest report from retail market research group, Verdict.

The traditional view of OAPs staying home by the fire in their slippers and has been replaced by the modern oldie, or 'Skier' (Spending the Kids’ Inheritance) and with the 'grey pound' being predicted further growth, retailers risk losing out on millions of pounds if they don’t do more to attract business from this expanding market.

The Verdict study found that those aged between 65 and 74 have spent on average £4,379 in the shops this year alone and that figure is expected to see a 40% increase by 2017 to £6,055 with purchases in the fields of fashion, beauty and electrical goods reporting the biggest increase.

Not to be outdone by the oldies, the 55 to 64 year olds have seen the second biggest increase with an estimated spend in the region of £7,412 in 2017 - an increase of 36.5 per cent. This compares to the 25-34 age group who are set to increase retail spending by less than 14 percent, despite spending more per head over all. While the ‘grey pound’ retail market is currently valued at £37 billion, it is estimated that it will be worth around £64 billion in the next ten years.

The increase in the spending power of the Saga generation has been attributed to a number of factors including pensioners having more disposable income, living longer and being typically healthier into old age.

Neil Saunders, Consulting Director at Verdict comments: “Historically, it was the younger consumer who drove retail growth. That won’t be the case going forward. Pitching to the older consumer has been seen as dull but over the next 10 years this won’t be the case."

With famous 'mature' faces fronting some of the largest fashion and beauty campaigns; it has become cool to be old and stylish. Marks and Spencer has Twiggy, 58, while L'Oreal has 69-year-old Jane Fonda heading their advertising campaign. And old-timers' favourite, Saga, fronted by 71-year-old travel expert Judith Chalmers, has announced that its operating profits have more than trebled in five years with a figure of £130 million recorded in 2006.

“The older shopper of tomorrow is simply not the same person as the older shopper of today. The blue-rinse brigade is being replaced by the evergreen shopper - those consumers who want to stay young both physically and emotionally,” adds Saunders.

What's more, Skiers are rediscovering their youth and with it, their sense of adventure. Nearly 11 million people aged 50+ are planning on travelling more regularly over the next five to ten years, according to new research from Alliance and Leicester.

The survey of over 50s found that holiday options are growing increasingly more adventurous with 9 per cent choosing to go off-roading, 10 per cent fancy having a go at flying a helicopter, 7 per cent bravely taking the plunge and going scuba diving and a further 7 per cent grabbing some down time at a music festival.

Emma Walkley, Current Account Manager for Alliance and Leicester’s Premier 50 account explains: “The desire of the over 50s to see more of the world is clear – this is not an age group that plans to sit back and enjoy a slower pace of life. Quite the opposite in fact, with long haul destinations and a thirst for adventure firmly on the agenda."

Learn more about the Saga credit card or Saga travel insurance and travel insurance for the elderly

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