Older consumers are a benefit to the economy rather than a drain on resources, according to new research.
The over 50s will spend 63p in every £1 in the UK by 2040 – rising from 54p in the £1 in 2018.
And the money is spent across the board rather than on specific goods and services,
However, think-tank the International Longevity Centre (ILC) believes the country could benefit even more if the government looked at lifting barriers to spending by older people.
The ILC report Maximising the longevity dividend reveals spending by the over 50s has dominated the UK economy since 2013 and will rise over the coming decades, from 54% (£319 billion) of total consumer spending in 2018 to 63% by 2040 (£550 billion).
According to the report, lifting barriers to spending by the over 75s could add 2% (£47 billion) to GDP a year by 2040 and supporting the over 50s to remain in the workforce could add an another 1.3% to GDP a year by 2040.
David Sinclair, Director of the ILC, said: “As the population ages there are enormous economic opportunities, but these are currently being neglected.
“There are enormous gains to be made by individual businesses and for the economy if we can unlock the spending and earning power of older adults.
“But too many people face barriers to working and spending in later life – issues like inaccessible high streets, poorly designed products, and age discriminatory attitudes require a serious response.
“We’ve become accustomed to hearing our ageing population talked about as a bad thing – but the reality is it could be an opportunity.
“However, we won’t realise this ‘longevity dividend’ through blind optimism about ageing. Instead, we need concerted action to tackle the barriers to spending and working in later life.”
“We need action to make sure our extra years are healthy years, we need accessible high streets and workplaces that are free from age discrimination and we need continued action to ensure that people have access to decent pensions in later life.
“Realising the longevity dividend will require decisive action – of the kind we’ve yet to see from either business or government. For all the talk of baby boomers dominating politics, we’ve yet to see a serious response to the opportunities and this needs to change.”
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