Female shoppers key in India and China

29 October 2012

NEW DELHI: Brands could benefit from more closely meeting the needs of female shoppers in India and China, who will see their earnings approach $5tr in 2020, the Boston Consulting Group has argued.

According to a study by the company, women in China will earn $4tr by 2020, measured against the corresponding total of $1.3tr in 2010, itself a lift from $680bn in 2005 and $350bn in 2000.

It also stated that the 158m working women in India will claim $900bn annually by 2020. Such figures compare with the 134m employed females, boasting a collective income of $280bn, in 2010.

"With Chinese and Indian women earning close to $5tr annually by 2020, understanding what they truly want will be critical to the success of companies operating in the two countries," the study said.

In the first of these markets, increasing numbers of young professional women are entering middle and senior management positions, a trend holding particular promise for luxury goods manufacturers.

A survey by the Boston Consulting Group found 88% of Chinese females felt secure about their financial circumstances, versus 62% in the US. These ratings stood at 87% and 44% respectively for job security.

The favourite brands listed by interviewees included L'Oréal and Lancôme in the beauty sector, Apple and Samsung from the tech category, and Johnson & Johnson in the FMCG industry.

Haier, the appliances specialist, and Li-Ning, the sportswear expert, were the only domestic players to feature among this group, according to the study.

The situation is "more fragile" in India, however, as while the most affluent women in major urban centres enjoy a "real taste of equality", this is not replicated across society.

"For the rest, there is significant gender discrimination, limited access to education, low formal labour-participation rates, and low wages," the Boston Consulting Group said.

"Despite these insecurities, Indian women spend more time shopping – and shop for food and other household items more frequently – than do women in the rest of the world."

Roughly half of Indian females questioned said they were "very attractive", compared with 15% in China. They also felt more "emotionally healthy" than their Chinese counterparts.

Nokia, the telecoms giant, Sony, the electronics manufacturer, and Levi's, the apparel group, were among the brands attracting high favourability scores with India's women, the analysis added.

Data sourced from Boston Consulting Group; additional content by Warc staff