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Indians, world's biggest shopaholics

July 05, 2006 16:41 IST
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Do you shop to keep boredom at bay? Well, don't worry you have company. A lot of it.

Results from an ACNielsen global survey on consumers' attitudes towards shopping have confirmed that the world's biggest shopaholics are to be found in Asia. The recent global online survey conducted among over 22,000 Internet users in 42 countries, one in four consumers shop 'as a form of entertainment' once a month, while in Asia, one in four consumers view shopping as 'something to do' once a week.

As many as 32 per cent Indians go shopping once a month where as 22 per cent of them indulge in it once a week.

According to the survey, seven of the top 10 nations who shop once a week simply to amuse themselves all hail from Asia.

The ACNielsen Online Consumer Confidence Survey is aimed at gauging consumers' current confidence levels, spending habits/intentions and current major concerns. The survey was conducted  with a sample of 23,500 consumers -- regular Internet users -- in 42 markets: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, United Kingdom, and the United States.

"With increase in the sheer numbers of malls and modern format stores shopping has almost become a national pastime in our country especially in the cities. Strong economic growth along with booming young adult populations with unprecedented levels of disposable income has made people more conscious of the latest trends and fashions. No one wants to be left behind, Indian consumers are ever willing to upgrade their knowledge where latest trends are concerned and these definitely helped in increasing the footfalls in all these modern malls mushrooming across the city," says Sarang Panchal, Executive director customised research, ACNielsen South Asia, in a media statement.

"In India, modern shopping malls are entertainment destinations incorporating cinemas, restaurants, food courts and additional sports and entertainment facilities to suit all budgets. There are shopping malls with modern facilities catering to all income levels and social groups of all sections of society," said Panchal.

"In congested Indian cities where accommodation is cramped and people often live with extended families, the shopping mall has become a home away from home. People go there to escape the worries and stress of work and home life and meet their friends and 'hang out.' The upside of this lifestyle for retailers is that, with the money these consumers save on living at home, there's simply more to spend at the shopping mall," he adds.

Clothes versus grocery: People have heard of the term "retail therapy" but for some countries it has really become part of their whole shopping experience. Russians, Japanese, Hungarians and Swedes say they find clothes shopping 'therapeutic,' according the ACNielsen online survey.

However, once again, it's the booming economies of India and China that are embracing clothes shopping with unbridled enthusiasm.

A third of Chinese consumers and one fifth of Indians say clothes shopping is their favourite thing to do.

"The young adult populations of China and India are ambitious, hard working and have money to spend on their lifestyle -- they are also brand-conscious and internationally aware of what their counterparts in the West are wearing and buying," says Panchal.

"These millions of consumers represent the dream generation for international manufacturers and retailers," said Panchal.  "No wonder that international brands -- from shampoo and household goods to luxury/ designer goods - are all clamoring to capture a share of the booming consumer markets in India and China and are investing aggressively to build their brand in the minds of today's and tomorrow's generation in these new markets," he adds.

Only one European country made it into the global top ten ranking for clothes shopping being the "favourite" thing to do - and no prizes for guessing -- it's the trend setting Italians who lead the fashion shopping pack in this region.

When it comes to grocery shopping however, it's another story. 71 per cent of Indian consumers describe grocery shopping as a necessary chore, compared to 46 per cent who said that clothes shopping were a necessary chore.

"There is a huge opportunity for grocery retailers to exploit the situation and change the mindset and ultimately, grocery shopping experience for consumers," says Panchal "Grocery shopping should be converted into an appealing experience.  Retailers need to understand the changing needs and motivations of their customers as well as identify the store drivers of consumers to create a unique store experience for themselves." 

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