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Older Generation Sharing Trends With Their Younger Counterparts

Older Generation Sharing Trends With Their Younger Counterparts

Posted May. 16, 2005 23:20,   


On May 15 in the Young Casual section on the second floor of the Lotte Department Store in Songong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, there were not only teenage and 20-something customers, but also more than a few women in their 40s and 50s.

Were they buying presents for their daughters?

Kim Gyung-ae, (51, housewife of Mullae-dong, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul), said, “I’m looking for clothes for me, not my daughter.” She added, “I like young casual wear. I find the pants targeted at married women out of date.”

In customer preferences, the generation gap is disappearing.

It comes as no surprise that women in their 40s and 50s purchase clothes popular among their teenage and 20-something counterparts, and that middle-aged men enjoy inline skating.

We Don’t Want to Be Old-

Interpark, an Internet shopping mall, recently surveyed which age group that subscribers’ of CeCi and Vogue girl, women’s magazines targeting 15-to-25-year-olds, belong to. The result was surprising. It was found that the proportion of subscribers age 30 or older reached 42 and 41.5 percent, respectively.

Invariably, women in their 30s to 50s who were interviewed in department stores said, “I don’t like married women’s clothes.”

Such “young” consumers have strong buying power in young casual sections of department stores.

About 51 percent of the purchases in the young casual section of Shinsegae Department Store in Gangnam, Seoul are made by customers in their 40s or older. The figure is at 41.8 percent and 31 percent, respectively, at Hyundai Department Store in Apgujeong and Lotte Department Store in Sogong-dong.

Women are not alone in showing a “young” consumption pattern, however.

About 100 out of 137 (73 percent) managers of men’s wear sections of the Lotte Department Store said that it is people in their 50s that showed the biggest change in their preferred colors and designs over the past year.

Park Byung-gi, a buyer for Lotte, said, “There are an increasing number of men in their 40s and 50s who wear jeans and flower-printed or striped shirts,” adding, “They seem to retain the sensitivity of 30-somethings, despite the fact they are older in chronological age.”

Living for Myself, Rather Than Sticking with Social Standards-

Moon So-won, a researcher at IFNetwork, a fashion consulting company, explained that people’s desire to participate in young people’s trends is causing recent consumer patterns without concern about age.

Experts also point out that well-being and “mom-zzang” frenzies play a part in reducing the gap in consumption patterns between different age groups. They explain that consumers buy what they want rather than follow social norms.

Some analysts say that the wide availability of the Internet has contributed to similar buying patterns among generations. This means that a new trend created mainly by teenagers quickly spreads among people in their 20s, 30s and 40s through the Internet.

Kim Sang-il, a researcher at the LG Economic Research Institute, said, “Cyworld, an Internet community site claiming 10 million subscribers, and Taeguki, a movie seen by more than 10 million people, are smash hits created along with the disappearance in the generation gap in consumption patterns.”