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China’s Garment Shoppers: Practical, Casual and Local Consumers

Garment Shoppers in Chinese Cities: The 2015 Survey [1], the latest study commissioned by HKTDC Research on the subject, has found that mainland consumers buy clothes mainly for practical needs and change of seasons and the key factor affecting their purchase decision is quality. In general, mainland garment consumers are most influenced by local fashion trends.
 
Consumer Motivation: Practical Needs and Change of Seasons

The main reasons given by the respondents for buying clothes are practical needs and change of seasons (90%). Over half of the respondents say they buy garments because of sales promotions involving discounts. Compared with the survey findings in 2012, the proportion of respondents buying garments to keep up with fashion trends is down by 10%. Consumer motivations in all the surveyed cities are quite similar, with the first two reasons being the major factors.

Chart: Major reasons for buying clothes
Chart: Major reasons for buying clothes

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Table: Major reasons for buying clothes (by city)
Table: Major reasons for buying clothes (by city)

 

Quality First

Respondents in this survey were asked to give ratings of 1 to 5 to eight factors affecting their garment purchase decision, with 1 indicating “very unimportant” and 5 indicating “very important”. The results show that good quality, reasonable price and fashionable / trendy style are the most important factors, with average scores standing at 4.46, 4.21 and 4.15 respectively. In the majority of cities, respondents rate good quality as the most important consideration when buying clothes. In Hangzhou, however, respondents rate good / tasteful brand image as the most important; while their counterparts in Shanghai rate fashionable / trendy style and good quality equally important.

 

Chart: Factors affecting purchase decision
Chart: Factors affecting purchase decision

download excel

 

Table: Factors affecting purchase decision (by city)
Table: Factors affecting purchase decision (by city)

 

Favourite Category: Leisurewear

In the 12 months preceding the survey, over 90% of the respondents have bought leisurewear, with an average quantity of 7 pieces. The proportion of respondents in cities in eastern China who have bought leisurewear is slightly lower than that in other regions. However, the average quantity purchased is slightly higher than in other regions.

Table: Type and quantity of garment purchased in the 12 months prior to survey (leisurewear)
Table: Type and quantity of garment purchased in the 12 months prior to survey (leisurewear)

 

Mainland Fashion Trends Dominate

Respondents were asked to rate the influence of fashion trends in different parts of the world on them, with scores ranging from 1 (not influenced at all) to 5 (very much influenced). Survey findings show that respondents are most influenced by mainland fashion trends, with a score of 3.62, or 0.1 point higher than in 2012. The overall scores of all the other regions are lower than 3. Relatively speaking, fashion trends in Korea have a greater impact on mainland consumers than those of Hong Kong, the US, Western Europe and Japan.

Chart: Influence of fashion trends of different regions
Chart: Influence of fashion trends of different regions

download excel

In view of this, Hong Kong companies should note that it is not necessary to follow the fashion trends of other regions when they develop the mainland garment market. They can consider creating unique mainland fashion trends and making more use of local fashion elements in different regions.


[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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