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Are you a socialite or a foodie? Six new older consumer groups identified

Simon Read
party 300x225 Are you a socialite or a foodie? Six new older consumer groups identified

Some people simply like to party

It’s not particularly pleasant to be put into categorisations or boxes, but researchers love to do it. It helps to provide data for government and companies targeting people with help or new products. For normal folk, the fun is to see where we fit into different classifications, hence the recent popularity of Buzzfeed posts such as “Which character from Downton Abbey are you?” or “Which serial killer are you?” (Actually I made up that last one!)

But some grown up research from the International Longevity Centre-UK and the Personal Finance Research Centre at the University of Bristol has been published today which explores issues such as patterns of spending, debt, financial satisfaction and quality of life in older age.

As part of the report,  new analysis of the 2010 Living Costs and Food Survey looked at how spending varies among the over 50s. The analysis classified older households into six groups based on their main patterns of expenditure. So, at last, here’s the fun part – which one do you think you fit into?

Conservative Consumers is the largest group, comprising 46% of older households. The striking feature about this group is that they spend far less on non-essentials than older households as a whole. Their average weekly spend on recreation and culture is £20, compared with an overall average of £33; and £10 per week on eating out compared with £19 overall. These tend to be older households: 22% of them are headed by someone aged 80 or over, compared with 15% of all older households. The majority (56%) said their main source of income was welfare benefits.

Foodies account for 19% of older households. They have very high expenditure on food, spending on average £58 per week compared to £34 for older households generally. They may like good food and home entertaining, or they may have special dietary requirements that increase their food bills. They are relatively well off: only 18% are in the lowest household income band, and they are more likely than the average older household to live in a large house.

Socialites comprise 12% of older households. At £405 per week, their overall average expenditure is the highest of all the groups. Their high spending on eating out, holidays and recreation (£131 per week) also marks them out. They are a fairly young group, with three-quarters aged under-65, and are also relatively well-off – more than half of these households are in the highest income band.

Burdened by Bills account for 11% of older households. They are distinct because they spend a very high proportion on housing, fuel and power (£4 in every £10, which is twice the average). Most of this goes on housing costs, which is likely to be rent payments as 70% live in rented homes. Like the Conservative Consumers, this group tends to have low incomes.

Smokers comprise 9% of older households. Most notably, 15% of their total average expenditure is on tobacco and alcohol, amounting to an average of £36 per week, £28 of which goes on tobacco. They are one of the younger groups, with 62% aged under-65, and they are more likely to rent their homes than own them.

Recreation and clothing is the smallest group, accounting for 4% of older households. Like the Socialites, they are a high-spending group, averaging £392 per week. At £65 per week, they spend more on clothes and shoes than all the other groups combined. Their spending is also above-average on recreation and culture (£65 per week). Most of this group is aged under 70; half of them are in the highest income band.

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  • simon read

    I should add that I probably fall into the last group.

  • Sculptor471

    “They have very high expenditure on food, spending on average £58 per week [...]”

    What year was that report compiled? Buying fresh fruit and vegetables takes a big chunk out of £60 a week for one. That is hardly being a “foodie”.

    A real “foodie” would far exceed that amount eg fillet steak at nearly £40 per kg plus a few bottles of wine at £10 each.

  • simon read

    As the third paragraph states, the analysis was based on the 2010 Living Costs and Food Survey, and not that much has changed since then. While £58 a week on food may seem low to you, it’s very high compared to the average for older people of £34.

  • tallise

    So where’s the quiz for one to find out?


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