Last year was a better year for the 40plus female, we actually appeared to exist in terms of marketing. I know we’ve still got a long way to go, but marketeers are understanding that maybe not every female is under 25 and those that are older might buy more product if they see women who look a bit more like themselves looking good in it. So hats off to Alexis Bittar (above) Lanvin, American Apparel, Illamasqua and the like who used older models in their ad campaigns, we wrote about it here.
But I’m still waiting for retailers to catch on. Yes we’ve had Mary and Twiggy, but when you think of how much money the 40 plus market is worth, it’s small fry and it’s still challenging to find nice clothes for our age group compared to the abundance of clothes showered on the younger markets.
So when you are next needing to rant about how cross you are about the lack of clothes targeted at our age group, we thought you’d like a few statistics to arm yourself with. Try them on the next designer/brand/retailer that says ‘age is about attitude’ in response to your question on where the dresses with sleeves are.
We are numerous
According to Mintel’s Women’s Fashion Lifestyles 2012, by 2016 there will be 10 million women, one in three of the female population, who will be aged over 55 years old. And Mintel’s research claims we feel overlooked by fashion retailers.
Yep, we’re on the increase, statistically speaking and those cute 15-24 year old girls you can sell anything to? Declining (in market share, and that’s before we talk about if they have a paying job at the end of their university degree to go to). When you think that the womenswear market will be worth £23.2 billion (according to Mintel) by 2016, that’s a lot of money our market has to potentially spend on clothes…if only we could find some.
We are pretty hot at the Internet
At a recent Drapers Breakfast I attended, I discovered that an omnichannel survey of UK consumers revealed that although 69% of all customers make their purchases in store, 36% of over 55 year olds make ALL of their purchases online, compared to only 16% of 24-34 year olds. Who said the young owned the internet?
I suspect it’s because by 55 many of us have given up with the rubbish service, youth-orientated shopping environments and expensive parking fines (you can count up a lot of parking tickets by the time you are 55, or is that just me?) and prefer the comfort of our sofas when buying things. Who can blame us? When was the last time you went into a fashion store and were served by someone the same age or older than you?
And we are the customer everyone wants
At the World Retail Congress last September, I heard the inspiring Laura Wade Gery, M&S’s e-commerce sales director explain that M&S’s biggest online usage is from the 45-55 year old market. According to Laura we are the company’s dream customer, particularly the affluent 55-65 year old ‘elegant suburbanite’ (Laura’s words, not mine). And those figures are just the people that actually found something to buy. I know plenty of women who search the M&S website and can’t find anything to purchase…how much higher would that figure be if there WAS great product available for our market? Think on that, any brands and retailers looking at dismal retail figures.
Let’s remember which retailer had a fabulous Christmas (‘John Lewis sales up 14.8% in pre-Christmas run-up’ according to Reuters ) and who its target market is? Oh yes. Us.
But we still love researching our buys In store
From the Drapers Omnichannel research, it appears that the 45 year olds and over are the ones who most want to hang about stores researching our product buys. 50% of all 55 year old questioned and 45% of all 45-54 year olds said they preferred to research fashion and shoes in store rather than online. All those youngsters prefer researching online, with only 38% of 18-24 year olds doing their serious product researching in store.
So the next time you are ignored or looked down on by some intolerant young person assuming you know nothing about current trends and are OLD so therefore don’t actually know what fashion is, just remember, we might be keeping the high street store alive. So you could suggest they be a bit nicer to us and maybe give us comfortable changing rooms and sofas to sit and hang out on.
Let’s hope that by the end of 2013, we are recommending fabulous new ranges of well priced clothes we can’t stop ourselves buying. Perhaps we’ll be so busy having fun in stores getting styling and product advice from staff that really understand our needs we’ll be too busy to blog! What do you reckon, readers?