High-spending older travellers now make up a smaller share of the over-50s travel market than before, according to new consumer research.

The proportion of over-50s saying they spend more than £3,000 per person each year on travel has fallen from 48% to 40%.

And the proportion spending more than £5,000 has dropped from 24% to 13%.

reputationThe figures come from Silver Travel Advisor’s annual survey of the travel habits of the over-50s, carried out in October 2017.

By contrast, it found the proportion of older travellers saying they spent between £1,000-£2,999 per person on their holidays had risen from 41% in 2016 to 45% last year, while the figure for those spending less than £1,000 had almost doubled from 11% in 20%, according to the survey of 1,000 members of the advice and reviews site.

While many pensioners are widely reported to enjoy a comfortable retirement, more than 80% of respondents said their wealth was exaggerated in the media.

Price not a factor

Despite the apparent dip in average spending, 85% said they planned to take the same number of holidays or more over the next 12 months. More than three out of four (77%) also said price was the least important factor when choosing a holiday.

The findings echo figures reported in the Travel Weekly Insight Annual Report 2017-18. It quoted consumer research by Kantar TNS which suggested the proportion of over-55s planning to spend more on overseas holidays in the year ahead had dropped from 43% the year before to 40%.

Silver Travel’s report also found the mature market is increasingly turning to the internet, with two‑thirds (67%) of respondents researching or booking online, up from 61% last year. Almost a third (31%) visit a travel agent in person, over the phone or online, broadly in line with the prior year.

three-or-moreThe biggest gripes for older travellers are single supplements and provision of disabled facilities.

More than half (58%) of respondents said not enough was being done for solo travellers and 50% said mobility issues were not being properly addressed.

Debbie Marshall, managing director of Silver Travel Advisor, said: “Older travellers seem to be feeling some economic headwinds but they remain determined to travel as much as ever – or more.

“Company reputation and customer service matter more than price to the silver traveller.

“Today’s older travellers are very much part of the digital age. Two-thirds of the over-50s are looking and/or booking online, either through travel agents or direct with travel companies, hotels, airlines and intermediaries.”

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