Advertisers are on course to celebrate their best Christmas since before
the recession, as free-spending young people fill the gap left by older
consumers, who are still too frightened to part with their money.
That’s the verdict of new research commissioned by Travis Sennett Sully
Ross, which blows a hole in the established theory that affluent ‘empty
nesters’ are a huge source of unexploited potential for marketers.
The agency’s survey - part of a pounds 100,000 five-year research
programme - shows how Christmas has become a symbol of the switch of
spending power from old to young.
It reveals that while middle-aged consumers are unlikely to splash out
over the festive season, 50 per cent of people aged between 16 and 24
say they will spend more, as do 42 per cent of young families with
As a result, advertisers can expect their best Christmas for six years
the survey predicts, with toy and clothes manufacturers likely to do
But Peter Travis, the Travis Sennett managing director, said the
declining influence of ‘empty nesters’ had become a growing feature of
the research carried out by RSGB on the agency’s behalf among more than
2,000 people across the country.
‘It’s a radical change from the early stages of recession but it’s been
more marked over the past two years,’ he added. ‘Young people are
confident spenders because they feel they have their lives ahead of them
and that if they lose one job they’ll find another. But middle-aged
people have been scarred by recession. The value of their properties has
slumped and they’re haunted by fears of job security.’
The worries of the empty nesters are creating a knock-on effect on the
kitchen appliance and furniture markets, the survey reveals. Middle-aged
couples are no longer taking advantage of their children ‘flying the
nest’ to refurbish their homes.
‘The autumn used to be the peak sales time for furniture manufacturers
as people ordered in time for delivery at Christmas,’ Travis said. ‘Now
the market is a disaster area.’