According to a new report, businesses are underestimating the power of the “grey Pound”.
Barclays Corporate Banking has revealed that the over-65s boosted the UK economy by an estimated £37 billion last year through their hotel and travel spending.
Yet the UK hospitality and leisure sector missed out on at least a further £16 billion through failing to properly target older consumers.
The report was based on responses from 1,100 consumers and 564 businesses and found that just 5% of businesses within the sector saw over-65s as the most important group in terms of sales and revenue for their company.
As many as 37% of the businesses perceived 34 to 44-year-olds as their priority target market, despite these consumers spending less money on average.
Also, 76% of the businesses had no plans to introduce products or services, which specifically target the over-65s.
Barclays said that, without action, the missed opportunity was only set to increase, in line with the UK’s ageing population.
It added that the total annual spend of over-65s could grow to at least £57 billion by 2025, based on the projected 34% increase in the number of old people.
Says Luis De Souza, CEO of NFS Technology: “The report demonstrates a huge untapped opportunity for the hospitality and leisure sector within the UK in the over 65 age group. And more concerning is the gulf between the perception and reality of the spending power within this defined generation in the UK.
“With the growth of the ageing population, businesses need to prioritise the needs of this generation and the revenue growth they recommend, so as not to miss out on their share of £16 billion this year alone. We must work harder together to plan and accommodate for this currently ‘overlooked generation’.”