NI Caters for Over 65s

23 April 2015

Couple in cafe

New research released by Barclays shows that the over 65s added £37 billion to the UK economy through spending on the hospitality & leisure sector in the last year. This contribution equates to over a third (36%) more than the average consumer and 27% higher than the 35 – 54 year olds who are the second biggest spending generation.

Despite this, the report from Barclays Corporate Banking, reveals that the sector, including businesses in Northern Ireland, is missing out on at least a further £16 billion in additional revenues by underestimating the spending power of the older generation.

However, businesses in the hospitality sector in Northern Ireland cater for the over 65s more than any other region in the UK with over half (55%) having products or services specifically for the older generation, compared with a national average of just 30%. Almost all (97%) of businesses expect the proportion of their company’s turnover amongst the over 65s will increase or remain the same. Despite this, eight in 10 (82%) businesses have no plans to introduce any products or services aimed at the over 65s. Nearly a third (29%) of those not introducing products or services explained this was due to their seeing little financial opportunity in this age group.

In Northern Ireland, just 4% of businesses within the sector see the “overlooked generation” (those aged 65 and over) as the most important demographic in terms of sales and revenue for their company. Encouragingly, a third of businesses (33%) ranked over 65s in their top three target age groups, compared to one in five (22%) in the UK as a whole.

Without action, this missed opportunity is only set to increase in line with the UK’s ageing population. The total annual spend of over 65s could grow to at least £57 billion by 2025, based on the projected 34% growth in the population of over 65s. This could be even higher considering the increased mobility and active lifestyles the over 65s are now living.

The report also reveals that the vast majority of hospitality and leisure businesses are planning to invest in their businesses in the next five years. Seven out of 10 businesses (72%) are planning to invest money in the next five years and over two in ten (22%) are planning a major investment. However, only 16% of the planned investments will be used to meet the needs of the over 65s.

With less than one in 10 (8%) over 65s visiting travel agents in shops when looking for information on products and services, the use of digital tools is becoming increasingly important for over 65s planning their leisure time. When looking for information on products and services, the first port of call for the over 65s is the internet. 58% of over 65s use search engines, 35% of them turn to online customer reviews and 15% use online travel agents.

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