Friday, April 30, 2010

World Retailing: Consumerism and The West

In the Financial Times World Retailing this month, "Consumption starts to shift to China, India and Brazil" discusses that the average shopper and consumers balance sheets are in better shape than they were a year ago.  Yet, the article states:

"But if the consumer is coming back to malls and high streets, their attitudes are changing, according to recent research.

Consumers around the world are reining back spending on non-essential items, according to Datamonitor.
Half of shoppers say they would cut back on buying new clothes and shoes, while 41 per cent say they will be reducing the amount they spent on cosmetics and fragrances.

Meanwhile, ostentatious consumerism is out, as shoppers are uncomfortable about flaunting wealth in more austere times. As a result, retailers are beginning to replace branded handbags and other high end goods with more subtle items."

I am tempted to ask if this is temporary or here to stay?  The outcome that the article highlights is "...that spending in the US, which currently accounts for 72 per cent of gross domestic product, should move back to its historical level of 66 per cent."

The more likely scenario that is emerging is that the consumerism begun through the design innovation of Raymond Loewy may merge into socially responsible products being the pull from the shopper and consumer.  This seems to be the case as stated multiple times else where in the "World Retailing", specifically in the article "Green moves make savings".  Another one is the growth of eCommerce creating a completely new sector rather than a sales channel.

If you would like to read this and other articles in the World Retailing, download the complete file here.

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