Chinese shoppers could almost double the amount they spend to £3.5tn in four years with clothing offering the best opportunity for western retailers.
As online fashion retailer Asos struggles to get a foothold in the fast-growing market, a report from consultancy Conlumino suggests that £212bn will be spent on clothing in China in 2018, more than double the £103bn in 2013. Growth is being driven by young Chinese women adopting western lifestyles, with more working and taking on senior roles and putting off having children until their late 20s, giving them disposable income and making them more likely to spend.
"The growth of the internet and social media have generated global fashion trends and this has made it far easier for international fashion brands to expand," said Maureen Hinton, Conlumino global research director.
But China has not been an easy market for western retailers to tackle. Asos shares dived after it admitted that losses at its fledgling operation in the country reach £9m this year rather than the £6m previously indicated. Other retailers from Tesco to DIY group Kingfisher and even luxury brands such as Burberry have not found the market as easy to crack as much bigger local operators put up a strong fight and savvy consumers hunt for good deals.
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