There is a change in the U.S. retail market. Consumers are spending less on products and spending more on “experiences,” preferring vacations over wardrobes, to the point some malls are being recreated as community colleges or indoor parks. To take advantage of the growth potential in those areas of the globe brands are looking to develop markets like China and India. From activewear to luxury brands, more and more major apparel players have entered or are readying to enter these markets.
U.S has a population of 321.4 million people. U.S. consumers are spending 65 percent of their discretionary dollars on things like vacations and sporting events, up from the low-40 percent range 60 years ago, In contrast, China has a population of 1.37 billion, while India counts 1.3 billion residents. China’s disposable personal income has grown at average annual rate of 11.5 percent; while India’s has seen a 7.5 percent increase, according to an analysis by Deloitte University Press. The difference is staggering.
According to the Cotton Council International (CCI) and Cotton Incorporated’s global survey, “In China, 83 percent of consumers “love or somewhat like” shopping for clothes. China is such an interesting market for apparel brands, as Chinese are frequent clothing shoppers, with 68 percent shopping for apparel for themselves once a month or more,. But Chinese shoppers mostly prefer to buy their clothes online (79 percent). The bulk of Chinese consumers say they buy clothes on sale, but other factors like quality are more important than price alone. Just 8 percent say they’re willing to sacrifice quality to get a better price.
In India, even more consumers (91 percent), express that they “love or somewhat like” apparel shopping. 66 percent cite it as their favorite items to shop for, outstripping groceries and electronics (both 9 percent), cosmetics (8 percent), and fashion accessories (4 percent). However, just 25 percent shop for clothes for themselves once a month or more, and instead prefer to shop once every two-to-three months.
India is also very different from China in that its most popular shopping channels are independent stores A.T. Kearney points to India’s strong GDP growth, growing middle class, and a more favorable regulatory environment that has developed over the past few years as reasons for its ranking.