The Buying Power of Senior Women in Fashion and Beauty

The youth market is shrinking globally while the older consumer market is growing in both numbers and spending power. Women over the age of fifty-five are one of the largest consumer groups, particularly of beauty care products. These senior women are known for their affluence, proactive health habits and attention to product research.

They are sophisticated, active, and willing to try new products. As a group, they're prepared to spend a greater proportion of their income on indulging themselves than all other segments of the population. These indulgences include health and beauty aids, food products with extra nutritional value, fashion, travel, and leisure activities.

Driven by the spending power of older women, smart fashion businesses are slowly changing tack. The use of older models is a growing trend in most sectors, with the fashion industry finally catching up. After all, says Monica Corcoran of the LA Times, “What middle-aged woman wants to buy a moisturizer from a model who’s too young to order a martini?”

In senior models, women see the best physical examples of their peers and imagine that they can age equally well. "The aspiration in these ads has shifted to having a full, rich life. Open up any Vogue and you'll see models over 35," says John Caplan, president of Ford Models. "In the Rolex ad, you have Carmen Dell'Orefice, and she's in her 70s."

Senior women want fashion in 'real' sizes and don't want to dress like their daughters, but they don’t want to dress like an 'older' woman, either. They want to look smart and elegant, but still follow the fashions of the day. They want to be made to feel important and catered to, rather than excluded or patronized. And, they don’t necessarily want to shop at separate stores. The 60-year-old woman thinks she’s 50, and the 50-year-old woman thinks she’s 40, and so on. Everyone thinks they are younger than they are and to be seen shopping at a store for 'older' women isn't good for self esteem.

It’s important to remember that the lifestyles of mature women vary greatly, just as they do with younger women. As women get older, they know themselves better than when they were younger, and they’re used to making up their own minds. Let your product or service speak for itself and the customer will decide whether it’s right for her.

Lifestyles run deeper than age, so try to target the interests of the personality type, rather than the age. There’s money to be made from the young and old if you offer the right product to the right person at the right price.

Did You Know (OLD DATA)

  • Mintel International reveals that sales of anti-aging products grew an impressive 31% from 2002 through 2004
  • In 2006 alone, sales of anti-aging facial products grew by 23%
  • Market research finds boomers on average see themselves as 12 years younger than they actually are and plan on living longer than their actual life expectancy
  • President of The Boomer Project (market research and consulting firm) says that if you have a product or service or company that can help boomers fulfill that quest for vitality in any aspect, you will be successful over the next 30 to 40 years

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