For Immediate Release

Previous ILC-UK Research (1) has shown how household spending steadily falls as we get older.

Today’s “Family Spending” (2) evidence from ONS, shows a similar trend, with households headed by a person aged 75 and over spending substantially less than their younger counterparts.[1]

However, this new evidence suggests that the trend might be changing and that younger people are starting to spend a bit less, while older people seem to be spending more.

In 2016, younger households (aged 30 or less) spend on average £51 (or 11%) less per week than in 2015; conversely, households headed by someone aged 75 and over spend a little bit more, approximately £16 (or 6%) per week than in 2016. Expenditure for the other age groups has remained pretty much unchanged.

These changes have been driven by younger households spending less on education (-£16 per week); household goods and services (-£8 per week); transport (-£7 per week); and restaurants and hotels (-£6.2 per week).

Conversely, spending by older people (aged 75 and over) has increased because they spent a bit more on: household goods and services (+£7.8 per week); restaurants (+£4.3 per week); and miscellaneous goods and services, such as personal care, social protection etc. (+£6.3).

Cesira Urzi-Brancati, Research Fellow, ILC-UK said 
“Let’s not get too excited about these changing spending patterns. It is still the case that we spend less and less as we get older. And the over 75s spend less than younger people. But for many older people, it isn’t a lack of money, but more of a lack of opportunity which stops them spending. With a growing older population, Government and industry must look to open up spending by this group of the population”.

(1) ILC-UK previous research, “The Missing £Billions” and “Understanding Retirement Journeys”, reveals how expenditure on non-durable consumption steadily declines with age, even after we account for household size and composition, income, health and so on.


About us
The International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) is a futures organisation focussed on some of the biggest challenges facing Government and society in the context of demographic change.

We ask difficult questions and present new solutions to the challenges and opportunities of ageing. We undertake research and policy analysis and create a forum for debate and action.

Our policy remit is broad, and covers everything from pensions and financial planning, to health and social care, housing design, and age discrimination. We work primarily with central government, but also actively build relationships with local government, the private sector and relevant professional and academic associations.


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