China and India Outpacing U.S. in Consumerism

Posted on Jun 30 2011 - 8:46am by John Stevens

Consumerism is what drives the self storage industry. The more people acquire, the more room they need for their stuff. And as people downsize, the availability of space in a typical household shrinks.  But a love of shopping might be slowing down in America today as compared with consumer-giants China and India, according to a new survey.

Typically, Americans have been portrayed as the world’s ultimate consumers, but in a recent Harris Interactive Poll, consumers in India and China were more than twice as likely as Americans to say they enjoy clothes shopping. In the U.S., 39 percent said that they either liked or loved visiting the shops to hunt for clothes, while 30 percent felt neutral and another 30 percent said they disliked it. But in India, 92 percent said they love shopping for clothes with over half (58 percent) saying they love it.

Majorities in China (79 percent), Singapore (69 percent), Spain (60 percent), Italy (60 percent) and Great Britain (53 percent) all like clothes shopping as do just under half of Germans (47 percent). French adults are like Americans and a little divided on the issue with 38 percent liking it, 32 percent neither liking nor disliking clothes shopping and 30 percent disliking it. These are some of the results of The Harris Poll conducted online by Harris Interactive among 9,222 adults in Singapore, Hong Kong, China and India (June 1 and 10, 2011), the U.S (May 24 and 26, 2011) and Great Britain, France, Germany, Spain and Italy (May 25 and June 1, 2011).

In China and India, brand names are more important than in the rest of the countries surveyed. Almost three-quarters of adults in both India (74 percent) and China (72percent) say brand names are important to them when purchasing clothes and fashion accessories. Around three-quarters of adults in Germany (78 percent), Great Britain (76 percent), France (75 percent), the U.S. (74 percent), Spain (72 percent), and Italy (72 percent) as well as two-thirds of adults in Singapore (64 percent) say brand names are not important to them when purchasing clothes or fashion accessories.

When it comes to making clothing purchases two in five adults in India (44 percent) and China (42 percent) made a purchase in the last week, while one-third of those in Great Britain (33 percent) and Singapore (32 percent) and three in ten in Germany (31 percent), Italy (29 percent) and Spain (28 percent) as well as one-quarter of Americans (26 percent) made their last purchase more than a week ago but in the past month. Three in ten French adults (29 percent) made their last clothing purchase more than a month ago, but less than three months ago.

A survey from earlier this year highlighted in a Wall Street Journal blog post showed that the Chinese are shopping and consuming in general  at a much quicker pace than Americans, and that 36 percent of Chinese consumers will pay a premium for a product with a major brand name, compared to 24 percent in the U.S.  It seems shoppers in China and India not only shop more than in the U.S., but they do so in a more showy, label-important way.

Sources Used:

Tuttle, Brad. “Consumers in China and India Love Shopping Way More Than Americans.” June 29, 2011.

“Few Hate Shopping For Clothes, But Love of It Varies By Country.” June 24, 2011.