JD Williams is attempting to position itself as the go-to retailer for over 50s female fashion with the launch of a report designed to provide insights into this valuable (to the tune of £6.7bn spend in 2013) yet often-overlooked customer base.
The findings from the report were not overly staggering – 64% of women said their stomach was the area of the body they felt the most negative about, followed by upper arms (35%) and thighs (28%) – leading to the inevitable talk of dresses with sleeves, longer length skirts and miracle shapewear.
It also made much of the rise in popularity of jeans amid this age group, “something I could not have imagined hearing four or five years ago,” according to Angela Spindler, chief executive of N Brown, which owns JD Williams. Yet surely this echoes the wider fashion industry. Statistics from Littlewoods at the start of this year, for example, outlined that the typical British woman (of any age) wears denim 152 days per year and 31% of women now wear jeans to work.
What is perhaps most interesting about the survey is the effort JD Williams is making to show that it really understands this lucrative target market. It has committed to turning it into an annual report to ensure the findings are accurate and up-to-date. The publication of this year’s research also generated some welcome publicity to coincide with the launch of JD Williams’ first collection designed by Lorraine Kelly for spring 15 in January.
With figures from Verdict showing there will be 900,000 more women over the age of 45 in three years and there will be 17.7 million over 45s by 2036, accounting for 57.5% of the female population, this is clearly a growing market and one the industry needs to better understand. Let’s hope next year’s report throws up something more concrete.