Great to see this article, as I based my final MA collection and subsequent dissertation in 2013 on the ‘ageless’ women, her difficulty in finding clothing that catered to her sense of style, aesthetic and propensity for good quality fabrics.
“Prime minister Theresa May, who last night hosted a reception at Downing Street to kick off London Fashion Week, represents the biggest opportunity for the fashion industry – which is to say the fashion-loving 55-plus woman.
Forget the millennials or even Gen X, new research from Mintel shows that a “passion for fashion” among Britain’s more mature women presents the most significant opportunities for the womenswear sector.
Sadly this increasingly influential and potential-packed consumer group remains greatly under-served by the industry. According to Mintel just under half (44%) of women aged 55 and over say they would like more stylish clothes for their age, compared to an average of 32% of all women.
Furthermore the more mature shopper is much more likely to pay for quality than her younger counterpart. Almost three quarters (74%) of women aged over 55 highlight product quality in clothing as important, compared to just 55% of 16-24s. But what this group does not want to do is look younger with 75% of over-55s agreeing that it is more important for them to look the best for their age than to look younger than their age.
Nearly all of them have bought clothing in the last year too. Overall 89% of women aged over 55 have bought clothing in the 12 months, and 41% have bought three or four different product styles.
All this being so, brands and retailers might to well to focus more on this group, says Mintel retail analyst Alice Goody “particularly given their higher disposable income than the increasingly squeezed young.”
“Their preference for style and quality over low prices bodes well for the value of the market. The fact that the vast majority of over 55s have bought clothing in the past year suggests there is scope to grow spend among this under-served area of the market,” she says.
Furthermore these fashion- and quality-conscious consumers are likely to work until later in life and even into retirement adding further to the need for a stylish wardrobe. “However, a key issue for the mature shopper is the lack of stylish clothing for their age, suggesting retailers need to be working closer with their target customer when developing their ranges,” says Goody.”