Over 50s now account for majority of spending on travel and tourism

Wednesday 9 July 2014

A new, independent report released today by Saga shows that the over 50s now account for the majority of the UK’s expenditure on travel and tourism. In 2002, the over-50s accounted for 46% of travel and tourism expenditure, but this increased to 54% by 2012.

Over 50s now account for majority of spending on travel and tourism

Over the ten years from 2002 to 2012 spending by the over 50s has grown faster than any other age group.  When compared with people aged 30-49, spending on travel and tourism by those aged 50-64 grew three times faster, and four times faster for those aged 65-74.

Andrew Strong, Saga Travel’s chief executive, commented:

“Today’s over-50s, who are healthier and wealthier than previous generations, have shown a passion for travel which has led to exceptional growth across overseas holidays, cruises as well as UK staycations.  No wonder the over-50s now account for the majority of travel and tourism expenditure in the UK.  The challenge will be how travel companies recognise and respond to the diverse nature of this demanding and discerning demographic.”

The key findings of the independent research from the CEBR, commissioned by Saga, were:

• The over-50s account for a growing share of UK travel and tourism spend - our analysis shows that over-50s households spent £25 billion on travel and tourism in 2012 (the latest year for which we have detailed family spending data). This is up from £14 billion in 2002. As a share of total expenditure on travel and tourism, spending by over-50s households rose from 46.3% in 2002 to 54.1% in 2012, meaning the over-50s now account for the majority of travel and tourism expenditure in the UK. 

• Between 2002 and 2012, travel and tourism expenditure by 50-64 year old households increased by 68%, while among those aged 65-74 it increased by 95.3% and for those aged 75 or over it increased by 81.2%.  These are all significantly higher than the growth recorded for all UK households (50.9%).

• After allowing for inflation, the changes in real terms show a +28% (£0.8 billion) increase in spending by under 30s; -4.4% (£0.8 billion) decrease in spending by 30-49 year olds; +30.3% (£3.6 billion) increase in spending by 50-64 year olds; +51.5% (£2.3 billion) increase in spending by 65-74 year olds; and +40.6% (£0.7 billion) increase in spending by over 75s. This compares with an average real-terms increase of +17% across all households.

• Households aged 75 and over spend a far greater share of their travel and tourism expenditure on domestic holidays than other age groups – two fifths (40%) of expenditure on package holidays and accommodation for the over-75 is for UK-based holidays. This compares with less than 25% in younger age groups.

• The over-55s play a significant role in supporting the UK cruise industry - the average age of cruise passengers in 2013 was 57, up from 53.7 in 2008. Some 66% of cruise passengers in the UK were aged 55 or over in 2013, amounting to 1.1 million passengers.


Notes to editors:

Copies of the report are available.

For further information please contact:

Paul Green or Louis Myers
01303 776023 or 01303 771118

About Saga Travel
With over 60 years experience, Saga provides cruise and holiday packages exclusively to today’s over-50s, visiting over 150 countries worldwide.  It owns and operates the cruise ships Saga Pearl II and Saga Sapphire and also owns and operates the Bel Jou Hotel in St Lucia.

About Cebr
Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) is an independent consultancy with a reputation for sound business advice based on thorough and insightful research. Since 1992, Cebr has been at the forefront of business and public interest research, providing analysis, forecasts and strategic advice to major UK and multinational companies, financial institutions, government departments and agencies, trade bodies and the European Commission. Cebr is recognised as one of the country’s leading independent commentators on economics and business trends. Its forecasts are used by a diverse audience of business people, policy makers and journalists; even the Treasury publishes its predictions for the UK economy.

Share this page

Get In Touch

The Saga Group Communications Team only deal with enquiries from the media.

If you're not a journalist, visit our contact us page for a full list of telephone numbers.