Adults, age 45 to 54, are taking longer to recover from the down economy, according to research conducted by the market research firm Mintel. Of that segment, 47 percent, compared to 33 percent overall, say spending has only been on necessities for at least a year, and 51 percent of this age demographic, versus 44 percent overall, say they plan to permanently reduce the amount of unnecessary items purchased in the future.

Thirty-nine percent also say they are more concerned about retirement than ever.

"This last recession has definitely not treated everyone equally," says Susan Menke, vice president and behavioral economist at Mintel. "One reason could be that the younger boomers are the age group that was just getting started when the severe double dip recessions of the 1980s hit, and they have never fully recovered. Another reason may be that this is the 'sandwich' generation, burdened with educational expenses for their kids and, for some, health care costs for aging parents."

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