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Key antecedents to the shopping behaviours and preferences of aging consumers: A qualitative study

Osmud Rahman (School of Fashion, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada)
Hong Yu (Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada)

Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management

ISSN: 1361-2026

Article publication date: 5 June 2019

Issue publication date: 18 June 2019




The purpose of this paper is to gain a deeper understanding of how income, cognitive age, physiological change and life-changing events may affect older consumers’ shopping behaviours and preferences.


In-depth semi-structured interview was employed for this study. In total, 13 informants were recruited in Toronto, including 11 females and 2 males aged between 51 and 80 years. Content analysis and holistic interpretation were employed for data analysis.


According to the findings, price was a major concern to many informants regardless of their income level. The relationship between “feel age”, “look age”, or even “health age”, are not always positively correlated. The vast majority of the informants preferred shopping at the brick-and-mortar stores over online shopping. Some informants experienced difficulties or challenges in finding clothing that fit well due to the change of their body shapes. In addition, many informants needed to adjust their personal needs and buying priorities to cope with their changing personal situations and social roles.

Practical implications

Other than the price and mobility issues, older consumers encounter different challenges when they shop for different products. It is imperative for retailers, service providers and product developers to understand the older consumers’ changing needs, aspirations and challenges through diverse perspectives – the transition of social roles, physiological change and life-changing events.


Many prior studies are merely focused on one topic (e.g. cognitive age) or product category (e.g. clothing). Through this multidimensional and mixed categorical approach, new knowledge and insights can be generated and added to the current body of research.



Rahman, O. and Yu, H. (2019), "Key antecedents to the shopping behaviours and preferences of aging consumers: A qualitative study", Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, Vol. 23 No. 2, pp. 193-208.



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