SYDNEY: The habits and expectations of older Australians are changing according to an analysis which has identified the "New Age Retiree" as a significant consumer group worthy of marketers' attention.

Starts at 60, an online community for the over-60s, worked with property consultancy MacroPlan DiMasi to carry out a survey of more than 3,450 people in this age group and found that many 60-69 year olds exhibited characteristics previously associated with consumers ten years their junior.

"The New Age Retiree (60-69) has more similarities with the 50-59 age group pre-2000 than with traditional retirees," according to Brian Haratsis, chairman of Macroplan.

This particular cohort accounts for 10% of the total Australian population of over 60s; half of them are retired and more than half of those still working want to work until at least the age of 65.

They have few concerns about finance or wellbeing. Fully 95% of respondents considered themselves healthy, and 50% of households earned over A$40,000. Further, only 25% still have a mortgage.

This is at a time when the government has just made changes to the part pension that are expected to benefit lower income pensioners and is facing demands for a wider review of the country's retirement income system.

Most of the survey's respondents are comfortable using technology, with only 6% expressing any reservations about their ability to cope. And around one quarter of this tech-savvy group shops online at least once a month.

The hospitality and travel sectors will also take note of their spending habits, as 70% eat out at least once a month, while 40% eat out at least fortnightly. Overseas travel featured in the plans of 40% for the next 12 months.

"If you line up a 20-30 year old and tell me about their spending power compared with the average 60 year old in our country, you have to ask yourself who is more compelling," argued Rebecca Wilson, founder of Starts at 60.

"I'd pick the cohort in which 75% are not paying a mortgage if it were me," she added.

Data sourced from B&T, The Guardian; additional content by Warc staff