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China’s Garment Shoppers: Online and Offline

Garment Shoppers in Chinese Cities: The 2015 Survey [1], the latest study commissioned by HKTDC Research on the topic, has found that most mainland consumers make regular visits to clothing stores, with nearly 80% of the respondents calling at a clothing store at least once a month. Department store is the most popular shopping spot. Other than physical stores, more than 30% of the respondents prefer buying clothes online. Of all respondents who have experience in buying clothes online, 35% say they browse the Internet at least once a week to shop for clothes. Most of the respondents say that, in buying clothes, they would pay and buy online directly after making enquires online.

Favourite Shopping Spots

The respondents’ most favourite spots for buying clothes are department stores (62%) and clothing chain stores (42%). The difference of 20 percentage points between these two channels underlines the immense popularity of department stores. Department stores, however, are not the most popular spots for buying clothes for respondents in Hangzhou and Guangzhou. The most popular shopping spots for respondents in Hangzhou are clothing chain stores (51%), whereas individual shops on the streets are most popular with Guangzhou respondents (62%). Other than physical stores, more than 30% of the respondents prefer buying clothes online. As a whole, the popularity of physical stores has dropped considerably since three years earlier.

Chart: Favourite shopping spots for buying clothes
Chart: Favourite shopping spots for buying clothes

download excel

 

Table: Favourite shopping spots for buying clothes (by city)
Table: Favourite shopping spots for buying clothes (by city)

 

Respondents who mostly buy clothes at department stores cite the wide variety of brands and trendy fashions as the main reasons for their patronage. Moreover, they think department stores have ideal locations, convenient transportation and pleasant shopping environment. For respondents who mostly buy clothes at clothing chain stores, the main reasons for patronage are the wide range of styles available, the pleasant shopping environment and the reasonable price. Nevertheless, on the whole, the attractiveness of department stores and clothing chain stores has dropped considerably since 2012.

Chart: Reasons for buying clothes mostly in department stores
Chart: Reasons for buying clothes mostly in department stores

download excel

Online Clothes Shopping Increasingly Popular

Other than physical stores, more than 30% of the respondents prefer buying clothes online. Most respondents with experience in shopping for clothes online cite convenience/no need to leave home and cheaper prices than ordinary shops as the main reasons for shopping online. Nevertheless, respondents in Beijing say they shop online because convenient online payment tools are available, while most often respondents from Guangzhou say they do so because online shops offer immense choice and ease of product comparison.

Chart: Reasons for buying clothes mostly online
Chart: Reasons for buying clothes mostly online

download excel

 

Table: Reasons for buying clothes mostly online (by city)
Table: Reasons for buying clothes mostly online (by city)

 

Habits in Buying Clothes Online

Of all respondents who have experience in buying clothes online, 35% say they browse the Internet at least once a week to shop for clothes. Most respondents from eastern, central, western and southern cities say they browse once a month and, in particular, more than 60% of the respondents in Guangzhou do so.

As for the time of online shopping, 65% of the respondents say they would do it on weekday evenings, followed by weekends and public holidays. Yet in Harbin, Shenyang, Wuhan and Chengdu, more than 30% of the respondents say they would browse the Internet during daytime on weekdays to shop for clothes.

Most of the respondents say that, in buying clothes, they would pay and buy online directly after making enquires online. This way of shopping for clothes is most commonplace in Guangzhou and Shanghai, though more respondents in Beijing would make enquiries at the physical store before paying and buying directly there. But the difference in proportion compared with paying and buying online directly after making enquiries online is only 3 percentage points.

Chart: Usual ways of buying clothes
Chart: Usual ways of buying clothes

download excel

 

Table: Usual ways of buying clothes (by city)
Table: Usual ways of buying clothes (by city)

 

 


[1] Following the 2012 study, HKTDC Research again conducted a survey on garment shoppers in 13 mainland cities in 2015. The cities covered in the latest survey are Nanjing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Harbin, Shenyang, Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Wuhan, Chengdu, Chongqing, Guangzhou and Xi’an. The survey was carried out in the second quarter of 2015. The sample size was 3,383, or 260 consumers in each city. Five groups of respondents were interviewed in each city: females aged 18-35, females aged 36-60, males aged 18-35, males aged 36-60 and students. In other words, there were 50 respondents in each category.

Content provided by Picture: Louis Chan
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