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Mature consumers' selection of apparel and footwear brands and department stores

George P. Moschis (Center for Mature Consumer Studies, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA)
Jodie L. Ferguson (School of Business, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA)
Meng Zhu (The Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School, Baltimore, Maryland, USA)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 6 September 2011




This study seeks to examine mature consumers' motives in the selection of apparel and footwear brands and reasons for patronizing department stores. Differences in brand‐choice motives are assessed among age cohort groups within the mature consumers segment as well as mature consumer segments defined by various socio‐demographic and lifestyle factors (i.e. gerontographic segmentation).


A USA nation‐wide random sample of 10,400 head of households was surveyed in regards to reasons for choosing apparel and footwear brands and department stores.


The results show that older consumers not only differ from their younger counterparts but are also heterogeneous when it comes to reasons for choosing specific brands and department stores. Specifically, price reductions and special sales drive the majority of mature consumers' brand selection, while advice or requests of spouse or other relatives and recommendations of salespeople are important factors in brand selection. Ease of returning products or getting refunds and frequency of items on sale are the main drivers of department store patronization.

Practical implications

Marketing managers should consider preference differences in age and gerontographic segments when creating marketing strategies to serve mature consumers.


Typically, mature consumers are aggregated into a single age segment (e.g. over 55). This study examines mature consumer reasons for selecting apparel and footwear brands and department stores based not just on age, but also on individual characteristics, specifically, gerontographic characteristics. Suggestions for marketing strategies designed to appeal to gerontographic segments are provided.



Moschis, G.P., Ferguson, J.L. and Zhu, M. (2011), "Mature consumers' selection of apparel and footwear brands and department stores", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 39 No. 10, pp. 785-801.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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