The Silver Economy: Here’s how 55-year-olds in Britain spend their money
February 1st, 2024, Lesley Simeon

The Silver Economy: Here’s how 55-year-olds in Britain spend their money

Insights on the how, where and why of consumers’ spending habits is always gold for brands and marketers. In this piece, we dive into YouGov’s wealth of data to discuss some interesting spending habits of a specific demographic - Britons aged 55 years and above. We also see what this group thinks about advertising as a means of engaging them.

As per data from YouGov Profiles - which covers demographic, psychographic, attitudinal and behavioural consumer metrics - nearly two in ten consumers aged 55 years and above in Great Britain (18%) say they spent anywhere between £250-£499 per person on their most recent holiday. Further, 20% spent between £500-£999. One in ten (10%) say they spent more than £2,000 on their last holiday, per person.

Further, a quarter of consumers aged 55 years and above (25%) have a taste for luxury, at least as far as accommodation goes - they agree that they “book luxury accommodation when possible”.

We now look at finance-related actions 55+ year-olds are likely to take in the coming months.

Profiles data reveals that 17% of consumers in this demographic are likely to open a savings account in the coming 12 months and 19% of them are likely to switch their general insurance provider. Another 16% expect to take out a general insurance product in the coming 12 months.

As for making and sticking to budgets, Britons aged 55 years and above are the most likely across age groups to say they don’t have a budget at all (34%), followed by 35-to-54-year-olds at a distant second (25%). More than a third of Britons aged 55 years and above (35%) say they have a weekly/monthly budget and most often stick to it.

But is this a consumer group to which the usual rules of advertising can apply? Seems like navigating this territory can be a tricky game.

Looking into 55+ year-old Britons’ attitudes towards advertising, we find that older Brits don’t seem to fixate on whether or not brands get involved in or comment on social issues.

For example, 47% of 18-to-54-year-olds and in comparison, 28% of those aged 55 and over say they “like brands that are willing to get involved in social issues”. On the other hand, a majority of consumers in this older age group (70%) “don’t think that brands should express views on political and social issues”.

At the same time, nearly half of all 55+ year olds (49%) say they “will stop buying brands if they hold a view they disagree with”. At 54%, the younger consumers (aged 18-54) are more likely to hold this view.

While getting too involved with social or political messaging might put off older consumers in Britain, engaging in personalised messaging is alright with them.

YouGov’s data reveals that 55+ year-old consumers are less likely than their younger counter parts (i.e. 18-to-54-year-olds) to feel uneasy about personalised advertising.

For instance, almost three in five 18-to-54-year-olds in Britain (59%) agree than “personalised adverts creep me out”. By comparison, fewer 55+ year-olds (52%) feel the same.

Similarly, older Britons are less likely than younger ones (44% vs. 47%) to agree that “seeing adverts that are too personal can put me off clicking on them”.

However, if you’re a brand that sponsors events or relies on word of mouth, reaching the younger lot is your best bet. This is because 77% of those aged 55 years and above agree that they rarely notice who sponsors an event, and only 35% of this consumer group say they love recommending things for people to try.

By comparison, 64% of those aged 18-54 say they rarely notice event sponsors and 62% of this group love recommending things for people to try.

Explore our living data - for free

Discover more retail content here

Want to run your own research? Run a survey now

Make smarter business decisions with better intelligence. Understand exactly what your audience is thinking by leveraging our panel of 20 million+ members. Speak with us today.

Methodology: YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data for Great Britain is nationally representative and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles. 

Photo by RDNE Stock project on Pexels