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At Rs 2 lakh per year, Indians are among the top spenders on clothing globally: Study

At Rs 2 lakh per year, Indians are among the top spenders on clothing globally: Study
A new study has shed light on how much people around the world spend on clothing. The findings are based on data obtained by online women’s clothing and footwear brand Public Desire on apparel market revenue, clothing prices and consumer buying habits to create a global ranking of clothing expenditure.

The Indian’s commitment to draping fabric made of home-grown cotton and the simplicity promoted by greats like Lal Bahadur Sashtri are out-of-fashion today. Those ideals have been traded for something a lot more fickle: fast fashion. And at the moment, we seem to be spending quite a bit of our monies on apparel.

Things like rapid urbanisation, westernisation, our increasing disposable incomes and a growing young population, among other things have made us the perfect target for fast fashion brands. And as per the report by Public Desire, an average Indian is spending roughly $2,500 (roughly over 2 lakh rupees) per annum on just clothes.

In fact, in terms of average amount spent on clothes, we’re second only to Switzerland ($2,825 per person) and equal to Australia ($2,500). However, a major red flag here is that while the Swiss and Australians are purchasing approximately 118 and 57 articles of clothing respectively, Indians are only buying 24 items of clothing!

Unsurprisingly, India also ranks third in terms of overall clothing expenditure, only trailing behind countries like the United States and Norway. As for how it racked up such a high average spend, the answer lies in multiple factors, including the cost of individual articles and number of items.

Meanwhile, China, on the other hand, takes a more modest approach to clothing consumption. While their apparel market boasts the second-highest revenue globally, Chinese consumers buy an average of 21 items per year, and spend a total of $259.09 – the lowest on the list. This translates to an average price per item of just $12.11.
Indians prioritise fashion over food
If you want more proof than just the Public Desire report to believe just how much Indians are spending on fashion, a Household Consumption Expenditure Survey submitted by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) suggested a similar trend. Earlier this year, the report indicated that Indian citizens were spending more of their money on fashion than on food!

Experts attributed this trend to multiple factors, one of them being the rise of social media – particularly in the rural areas. Exposure to online trends and influencer culture has sparked a newfound interest in consumer goods, including clothing and footwear.

Brands have cleverly capitalised on this shift, leveraging social media platforms and influencers to promote their products. This digital marketing push, coupled with rising disposable incomes, has led to a growing desire for fashionable apparel.

Here’s some food for thought: while a more expensive but versatile linen dress might last you decades with proper care, an average piece of cheap clothing from a standard fast fashion brand is designed to last no more than seven wears. Not to mention, once they’re out of your wardrobe, most of them make a beeline to a landfill. Join the movement against fast fashion and spend your money wisely.


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