Lifestyle & Spending Habits of Older Australians – 10 Key Findings

Macquarie Radio Network recently commissioned some new research into the lifestyle and spending habits of older Australians. The qualitative and online quantitative study covered all age groups from 18+, but focused on the  45 – 69 year old age group. Sample size was 1200 respondents in total nationally.

The results make for some fascinating reading.

Here are 10 key findings from the research. Unless specified otherwise, all the findings below are for the “middle aged” group, defined as those aged 45 – 69.

Attitudes to growing older

Across all age groups researched, the average age at which a person is thought to be “old” is 72.

Older Australians genuinely believe that they are much fitter and healthier than previous generations. There is a strong feeling that they no longer have to act their age and they certainly do not intend to grow old in the same way that their parents did.

Differences to previous generations

Australians today believe that they have experienced a lifestyle today very different from previous generations. Today, they almost feel like pioneers in being the one generation that brought about and experienced big and constant change.

In their eyes they are the transitional generation.They have largely rejected the traditional work ethic in favour of more balance and variety.

Attitudes to Health & Appearance

Australians see themselves as healthy, happy, fit and stress free. They recall previously spending a lot of time worrying about money, jobs, relationships and success over the years.

They can now live for the moment and have fun with much less stress and no young family or work pressures. They are concentrating on enjoying themselves now.

Expectations and Knowledge

Today’s Australians were the first generation to branch out on-masse and see the world. They are well informed, well travelled and optimistic.

Improvements in life expectancy combined together with a younger, fitter mindset and a feeling of achievement and contentment have them looking forward to an exciting time of life ahead.


They actively strive to lead a busy and exciting lifestyle. They seek out new experiences like active, adventurous holidays.

Maintaining a high level of self-esteem (allied to demonstrating that they are still young) is a primary driver of their seeking challenge and novelty in activities generally, and travel in particular.

Trying New Things

They are more likely compared to those aged under 45 to compare supermarket products and prices, and compare all the options when making a big purchase.

However, they still have a significant enjoyment of shopping for new things, only slightly less likely than those aged under 45 to try new or different grocery products.

Social Media & Technology

A significant proportion of middle aged Australians use social media, online shopping and keep up with technology.

Most admitted that they would be unlikely to be early adopters of technology but become enthusiastic users once new technology was introduced to them.

Interaction with younger people

The survey revealed that there was much less of an age related gap between older and younger people.

This is driven by: increased contact between older and younger people; a feeling that children were maturing earlier and becoming an adult at an earlier age; older people feeling and behaving younger.

Financial Strength

Gross income, disposable income and net asset worth all peak within the 45 – 69 old age bracket.

Because a lot of the expenses of home and family are behind them, this age group enjoys a much greater level of monthly disposable income than younger age groups.

Spending Habits

They spend considerably more than younger age groups on groceries, entertainment and going out. A significant number of them (19%) also do the grocery shopping for other households and grandchildren.

In addition, their spending accounts for far more on travel and holidays, accounting for 62% of all travel and holiday expenditure. In fact, the 55 – 69 year old segment alone accounts for 39% of the total.

Thoughts about the future

This age group see a lot of positive (lifestyle, environment, economy, diversity, tolerance, social structure) and negative (politics, economy, crime, youth behaviour, migration) issues confronting Australia.

However, on balance they have a significantly more positive view of the future, compared those aged 45 and under.

For further information on this study and it’s implications for your own business, please contact Gill Walker.

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