The ageing consumer


Premium department store retailer Selfridges, will be reinventing its annual New Year initiative ‘Bright Young Things‘, renamed ‘Bright Old Things‘ for 2015 and celebrating 14 creative personalities between the age of 40 and 80.

Highlighting the lives of personas such as ex Editor at The Sunday Times, Molly Parkin, 82; Actor-turned-Painter William Forbes Hamilton, 82 and Retailer-turned-Designer Nick Wooster, 55, Selfridges will be honouring each individual in a window scene at the Oxford Street flagship store. Each individual will be photographed in their studios and homes and the initiative will celebrate fashion renewal and the idea that ‘it is never too late to try something new.‘

Controlling more than 70% of many developed nations‘ wealth, consumers over the age of 60 are quickly becoming the fastest growing consumer of the 21st century, making the need for retailers to engage with the ‘grey pound‘ more significant than ever. Selfridges will bring its famous displays to life, steering away from the youthful focus of fashion. Creative Director Linda Hewson cited Selfridges as priding itself on “telling great stories.”

There is a continued opportunity for retailers to tap into an unfulfilled space in the market and follow the lead of cosmetic brands such as L‘Oreal and Nars, who have both marketed up to the age of 70 in recent years. L‘Oreal appointed brand ambassadors Diane Keaton, 68, Helen Mirren, 69, and Jane Fonda, 76, while Charlotte Rampling, 68, and Tilda Swinton, 53, became the faces of Nars‘ “Audacious” range. The use of naturally ageing women has been incredibly successful, with the over-50‘s beauty market currently estimated at £2bn a year.

To address this demographic without engaging explicitly by age, retailers should consider ensuring shopping environments and processes are accessible for older consumers, with brand value and quality as leading factors to be tailored to.

Consultancy firm AT Kearney state that consumers aged 60 plus spent more than $8tn worldwide in 2010, an expenditure which is predicted to rise to $15tn by the end of the decade. E-commerce is equally a critical opportunity to extend sales within the digital era, however the divide between those who are, and are not connected, still largely remains.

As 34% of the over 50‘s population accounts for nearly 70% of the UK‘s total wealth, the shopping experience of this age group is hugely significant. As fashion tastes become more and more synonymous with a ‘younger‘ generation, it is essential to move away from a dated perception of age and reflect the reality of people‘s lives.

A ‘celebration of the retirement renaissance‘, Selfridges provides the message that style and creativity is ageless. ‘Bright Old Things‘ is to be revealed on January the 8th and will remain until the end of February.