Retailers take notice: Could 45 be the next 15? By 2010, women 45 and older are expected to unseat teenagers as the biggest spenders on clothing, shoes and accessories. The baby-boomer generation is 40 million women strong, many of whom are in their 40s and 50s. The group's sheer size is expected to increase the overall spending in the $101 billion female apparel market. Unlike past generations, women have more disposable income and are willing to spend it on their looks, merchants and consultants say.
"A lot of stores basically walked away from the older woman," said Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst for NPD Group, a market research firm in Port Washington, N.Y. ''But the teen market is being sliced so thinly that retailers need to regroup. And stores are finally beginning to recognize that this is a customer who can no longer be ignored."