Retail: Asia to overtake West in 2018

Asian apparel consumption should reach 920 billion dollars in 2018, as compared to 625 billion last year, placing it on the same level as North America and Western Europe.

Apparel spending should rise by 10% per year - an increase largely driven by China and India, which together comprise 2.6 billion people, or 37% of the global population. Many customers in these countries aspire to buy apparel from leading brands although they may not have the means to buy from the biggest names in luxury - hence the success of international retail brands. 

"Although some luxury groups have reported slower growth in countries like China, fast fashion chains such as H&M, Gap, Zara and Uniqlo have ambitious plans for store openings that would blur the distinction between high-end and entry-level luxury apparel."

Luxury is thus seeing a slow-down in Asia that contrasts with the strong growth previously generated by China, where growth dropped from 30% to 7% between 2012 and 2013 due to a less favorable economic outlook and anti-corruption policies aimed at luxury gifts. The Chinese nevertheless spent 102 billion dollars in 2013. With a growth of 20-30% per year, India remains far behind.

As for online sales, the Chinese market should account for 650 billion dollars in sales in 2020, as compared to 306 billion in 2013, while the United States should reach 263 billion. Following the adoption of new laws facilitating exchanges with foreign countries, India, meanwhile, should reach 100 billion in 2020, according to a local federation. That figure is tempered by PwC, which noted that the figure estimated by Forrester for 2018 is only 16 billion dollars.

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