Keeping clothing sales buoyant requires a new focus on consumers in the 60 plus age range says a report recently produced in Germany by the Schleger & Partners market research organisation.

It measures the general decline in spending on apparel and textiles across the EU since the mid l970s. The proportion of such spending related to overall income has fallen from 7.1 per cent in l977 to 5.8 today.

Meanwhile the number of over-60s has been rising steadily. Today they comprise 31 per cent of the population in Germany and, if present trends continue, by the mid 2lst century pensioners will outnumber teenagers two to one.

Schleger concludes that if the clothing industry is to maintain sales at anything like its present level over the next two decades, it must now start considering the special needs of this growing sector of the population.

Meanwhile, a separate survey commissioned by Readers Digest has revealed that the current over-60s generation is "more disposed to innovation in the sphere of technical advances delivered by so called intelligent textiles than any other section of the community."

This survey underlines the fact that the elderly enjoy "a financial flexiibility" unmatched by any other age group. In short they have the means as well as the will to experiment with entirely new types of clothing.

By Sonia Roberts.

To view related research reports, please follow the links below:-

Retailing in Germany

The Grey Consumer Market (UK)

European Retail Rankings