Spending power across the generations

Document type
Kingman, David
Intergenerational Foundation
Date of publication
1 December 2012
Poverty Alleviation Welfare Benefits and Financial Inclusion
Social welfare
Material type

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Who wields the balance of spending power in contemporary Britain? With increasing media and political rhetoric surrounding the “cost-of-living-crisis”, it is useful to analyse patterns of spending behaviour to see if certain types of household appear to be suffering or benefitting disproportionately as a result of broader economic trends.

In this report, IF analysed data on spending patterns which have been broken down by age group to see how spending on certain types of goods varies between the generations. The results were conclusive: across a range of different expenditure categories which can be broadly considered luxury goods – from theatre and cinema tickets to hotels and eating out –older households have been spending more over recent years, while the spending power of younger households appears to have declined. This study draws attention to the imbalances in the economic fortunes of different age groups within society, and makes a strong argument that policy-makers should do more to help boost the disposable incomes of Britain’s young people. 

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