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From passive to active consumers? Later life consumption in the UK from 1968-2005

Higgs, P. F., Hyde, M., Gilleard, C. J., Victor, C. R., Wiggins, R. D. and Jones, Ian Rees ORCID: 2009. From passive to active consumers? Later life consumption in the UK from 1968-2005. The Sociological Review 57 (1) , pp. 102-124. 10.1111/j.1467-954X.2008.01806.x

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The significance of the UK's ageing population has been generally acknowledged, however its implications for consumption have been neglected. The consumption patterns of older people are important given that the end of the 20th century witnessed profound changes to the nature of later life, many linked to the emergence of ‘consumer societies’ in the UK and elsewhere. The uneven nature of retirement, as well as the relative affluence of many retired people, has important effects on patterns and experiences of consumption. This paper charts consumption by retired households in two areas; ownership of key consumer goods and key components of household spending. We investigate how these expenditure trends compare with other household types and across pseudo-birth cohorts. We draw data from 9 years of the Family Expenditure Survey taken at 5 year intervals between 1968 and 2004/5. The data demonstrate the growing extent of ownership of key goods in retired households but also show the differences in proportional expenditure between retired households and the employed. We also note differences between pseudo-birth cohorts and conclude that consumption patterns in later life are influenced by the generational habitus of the differing cohorts who entered retirement between the 1960s and the present day.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISSN: 0038-0261
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2022 11:41

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