Time for the fashion and beauty industry to wake up to the potential of an older customer

Speaking at the Future of Ageing conference this week, a group of fashion and beauty industry experts will argue that the industry needs to address its institutional ageism if it is to make the most of the potential of increased spending by older people.

Research by the International Longevity Centre (Maximising the Longevity Dividend), to be published alongside the Future of Ageing conference will reveal that spending on fashion and shoes by older people will increase by £11bn (60%) from 2019 to 2040. By 2040, people aged 50 and over are expected to be this sector’s key consumer base.

Ahead of the debate, Diane Kenwood, journalist, blogger and ILC Trustee said:

“For too long the fashion and beauty industries have been bewilderingly resistant to recognising just how fashionable and stylish the generation of older consumers are and want to remain. The potential of these consumers is huge and it has been shamefully side-lined. I do, though, sense a shift in attitudes starting to stir, and I’m hopeful that change will gather momentum. Helping to realise the potential of this demographic and the opportunities they offer is one of the key pillars of our work at the ILC.”

Tricia Cusden, Founder of makeup brand for older women Look Fabulous Forever added:

“We baby boomers are ageing in a completely different way from our mothers and grandmothers. It’s time that the fashion and beauty industries wake up to the fact that we are generation fabulous not generation frump”

Jane Hallam Founder of Esteem – No Pause, clothing designed for women going through the menopause said:

“I couldn’t find stylish and effective clothing on the high street that would address my own menopausal night sweats (a natural part of the ageing process); and the only clothing I found on the internet was incredibly old fashioned and loose fitting in cotton which would have left me as cold and damp as my bedding was. At 48 years old with a wardrobe of beautiful lingerie I was not prepared to resign myself to a 1950s view of older woman nightwear and put up with damp nights for up to 10 years! Our bodies change in shape as we age as do our physical requirements, but our sense of self-esteem and style remains.” 

Professor Julia Twigg Professor of Social Policy and Sociology at the University of Kent concluded:

“Ageism means that the fashion industry still struggles to engage successfully with the older market, though it is worth many millions.”

Lily Parsey

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