Newly affluent Indian consumer spending more and differently from Asian counterparts: PwC study

New Delhi, 29 January 2014 – In India nearly 50% of retail consumers buy online to get better deals and variety, proving that digital channels are now an integral part of the shopping experience for customers. Bollywood continues to be the fashion standard with nearly 40% consumers looking to famous celebrities for purchase decisions. Twenty five percent consumers continue to buy unbranded traditional clothes, 70% more than the Chinese but less than the Malaysians.

The findings are part of PwC Experience Radar 2013: Lessons from the Global Retail Apparel industry. It’s a global study that tracks how local culture and practices in developing Asia drive different types of purchase decisions and reveal features in the retail shopping experience that inspires consumers to pay a premium.

Rachna Nath, Retail and Consumer leader, PwC India said, “Digital has impacted the way business happens as no other factor has. As the buyer becomes more informed and we see the touch points to interact with customers changing, the way to provide them customised experience has also undergone a change. This report instead of going by only demographics in Asia has created personality types and gone to depths to understand their buying behaviour, which will help companies structure their customer relationships accordingly.”

The outsized importance of brand

Two-thirds of shoppers agree that access to leading branded goods is the heart and soul of their ideal apparel shopping experience. These newly affluent consumers place so much value on it that they are four times more willing to pay for access to branded apparel than shoppers in developed nations. This implies that luxury brands need to align price with brand equity. Premium pricing reflects exclusivity and quality, which attracts affluent developing Asia shoppers looking to showcase their status. Businesses can help assure consumers of the authenticity of their products by providing product information and demonstrations both in-store and online, and by posting online authentication guides to help consumers identify counterfeits.

Other people’s opinions matter—a lot more 

Family and friends are the foundation of society in developing Asia and these relationships influence shopping decisions. People create their own trust structures that include their network of friends and family along with influencers such as celebrities and blogs to make decisions. People value the opinion of those they trust to drive their position on the social ladder.

Using customer analytics and store knowledge, businesses can identify key brand advocates and cultivate relationships with them through incentives such as discounts and invitations to exclusive events. In countries like India and China, celebrity culture is a huge driver of lifestyle. Leveraging film stars, sports icons, and other celebrities can be a powerful tool in building brand awareness.

 

Shoppers are more likely to share a bad experience with friends and so brands need to educate and empower employees on how to turn issues into opportunities to deepen the customer relationship. They also have to give customers a platform on which to share and amplify good experiences and raise issues that may need to be resolved.

The Digital Experience

Over 50% Indian shoppers buy online to get better deals and variety. 90% in developing Asia browse or buy online (versus fewer than 80% for developed countries). However, online payment security is still an issue for almost 20% shoppers

Online experiences can provide the richer, more robust, and more personalised shopping experiences that customers crave. Shoppers are using their smartphones to check prices and reviews in-store, spending an average of 15 minutes online per store visit. One in three customers want to access enhanced product information via in-store tablets.

Companies need to harness the ‘mobile’ by building apps that provide regular style and merchandise tips or supplement the in-store experience to attract savvy high-spenders and convince shoppers to stay longer.Many shoppers browse online but buy in-store. Providing customers a seamless experience that allows them to access product information, pricing, and their own account information across channels is critical to building a strong retail brand.

 

Notes to editors:

About PwC’s Experience Radar 2013
PwC’s Experience Radar 2013 study on the global retail apparel industry shows how local culture and practices in developing Asia drive different types of purchase decisions for regional consumers, and reveals features in the retail shopping experience that would inspire those consumers to pay a premium. Beyond retail, the Experience Radar provides cultural insights and learnings that can inform other industries seeking to push their brands into new markets.

Survey Methodology
Our methodology employs a conjoint survey technique to reveal insights that can be honed to improve precision. Other, more traditional customer experience studies typically do not tie to “hard economics” like value measures, price elasticity and churn metrics.

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