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Rosie Murray-West
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July 04, 2019

Age matters: How different generations buy travel money

travel money market today

Do you know your X from your Y? No, we’re not talking algebra, but generations. Consumer Intelligence surveys show that different generations buy travel money differently, travel to different destinations, and even have different priorities when it comes to choosing a provider.  

 


 

If you want to appeal to Generation X (born between 1965 and 79), Generation Y (born between 1980 and 1994) and the Babyboomers (born 1944 to 1964) too, it is sensible to know their preferences and come up with a strategy that speaks to their different priorities for buying currency and spending abroad.

 

“Our most recent Biannual travel survey is stuffed full of information about how travel money purchase varies by age,” says Andy Buller, Head of Banking for Consumer Intelligence. “Providers can take advantage of this by ensuring they have an omnichannel strategy that appeals to each generation. As always, understanding the consumer is the key to giving them what they want and increasing sales in a competitive and changing market.”


With this in mind, here are some of the main differences between generations that appeared in the most recent travel money survey, and how to use them to your advantage.

 

Different generations travel to different destinations 

 

Popular holiday destinations for British travellers include Spain and the US, but while older people are keen on the Canary Islands, younger travellers are more adventurous. As the chart below shows, younger travellers have a far broader range of destinations. While 76 per cent of travellers of all ages picked the same top ten destinations, 69 per cent of younger people visited the top ten destinations, with far-flung destinations such as Thailand, Mexico and India also proving popular.

 

Where did you travel to on your last holiday? (Top ten, all ages)

 

Spain

24%

USA

10%

France

10%

Canary Islands

7%

Italy

6%

Greece

5%

Portugal

5%

Germany

3%

Netherlands

3%

Australia

3%

 

Where did you travel to on your last holiday? (Top ten, 18-35 year olds)

 

Spain

15%

USA

11%

France

9%

Canary Islands

3%

Italy

7%

Greece

5%

Portugal

4%

Germany

5%

Netherlands

6%

Australia

3%

 

“It’s not surprising to see that younger people travel further afield,” says Buller. “But it does give us an inkling of the currencies that should be on offer. While the euro and the dollar still take the lion’s share of the currency market, the Thai Baht, Indian Rupee and Mexican peso are all popular currencies with younger people."

 

They travel in different types of group

 

While middle-aged people are more likely to travel with their families, older people tend to travel with a partner, and younger people travel with friends, or travel solo.


13 per cent of 18-34 year olds travelled alone on their last trip, compared with just seven per cent of 35-54 year olds, and eight per cent of over 55s.

 

Travel with friends is popular in the 18-34 age group, with 32 per cent of people going away with a friend compared with 12 per cent of 35-54s. Family travel peaks steeply in this age group, with 45 per cent of people holidaying with family. Over 55s are most likely to travel with a partner, with 61 per cent going on holiday as a couple.

 

In some cases this affects the type of travel money they take.

 

“Younger people who travel with friends may really appreciate the ability to split bills using new technology when travelling abroad,” Buller says. “Likewise, solo travellers are often concerned about the security of their money, and may value the safety of a prepaid card.

 

Who did you go with on your last holiday? (All respondents)

 

A partner

45%

My family

31%

A friend/group of friends

15%

I travelled on my own

9%

 

They take different forms of travel money - and order it differently

 

Younger people are more likely to use a prepaid card, and also more likely to order the currency they do take online using an app on their mobile, rather than a computer.
However, very young people were disproportionately likely to take travellers’ cheques - perhaps due to taking advice from older relatives.


“Looking at these figures through a demographic lens is valuable, as it shows us how to attract different types of customer,” Mr Buller says. “Younger people do not purchase currency face-to-face as frequently, and value prepaid cards. They are far more likely to use a mobile app. Omnichannel is the best way to ensure all generations are catered for.”

 

In what format did you order your travel money? (All respondents)

 

Cash travel money

91%

Prepaid travel card

18%

Travellers' cheques

7%

 

In what format did you order your travel money? (Aged 18-34)

 

Cash travel money

85%

Prepaid travel card

25%

Travellers' cheques

13%

 

In what format did you order your travel money? (Aged 35-54)

 

Cash travel money

91%

Prepaid travel card

19%

Travellers' cheques

6%

 

In what format did you order your travel money? (Aged 55+) 

 

Cash travel money

95%

Prepaid travel card

12%

Travellers' cheques

4%

 

How did you purchase and receive your currency? (Aged 18-34)

 

Face to face in a branch

40%

Ordered online and collected it

27%

Ordered online and had it delivered

8%

Topped up a pre-paid card I already owned

4%

From an airport branch

5%

Via a mobile app and had it delivered

5%

Via a mobile app and collected it

5%

Via an ATM

5%

Ordered over the phone and had it delivered

3%

Another way

1%

 

How did you purchase and receive your currency - (Aged 34-55)

 

Face to face in a branch

53%

Ordered online and collected it

28%

Ordered online and had it delivered

10%

Topped up a pre-paid card I already owned

3%

From an airport branch

2%

Via a mobile app and had it delivered

2%

Via a mobile app and collected it

1%

Via an ATM

0%

Ordered over the phone and had it delivered

1%

Another way

1%

 

How did you purchase and receive your currency? (Aged 55+)

 

Face to face in a branch

61%

Ordered online and collected it

24%

Ordered online and had it delivered

9%

Topped up a pre-paid card I already owned

4%

From an airport branch

1%

Via a mobile app and had it delivered

0%

Via a mobile app and collected it

0%

Via an ATM

1%

Ordered over the phone and had it delivered

1%

Another way

1%

 

How did you purchase and receive your currency? (All respondents)

 

Face to face in a branch

53%

Ordered online and collected it

26%

Ordered online and had it delivered

9%

Topped up a pre-paid card I already owned

3%

From an airport branch

2%

Via a mobile app and had it delivered

2%

Via a mobile app and collected it

2%

Via an ATM

2%

Ordered over the phone and had it delivered

1%

Another way

1%

 

These are just some of the ways in which generations differ when it comes to buying travel money. To find out more, and for more valuable insights from the Biannual report, which surveyed nearly 1500 people in Spring 2019, contact us.

 


[FREE REPORT] Biannual Travel Money Survey

Consumer Intelligence’s latest travel money survey shows that the travel money market is changing in response to Fintech innovations and the growing prevalence of a cashless society.


The latest edition of the biannual survey, contains data on how British holidaymakers spend while travelling. It reveals differences between generations and destinations, and a growing reliance on technology from British travellers spending abroad.

 

Download report



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