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Growing Opportunity

Consumers in less-developed countries represent a growing opportunity for retailers that sell apparel, accessories, footwear and home goods, according to two recent studies from Retail Forward. The “Global Softgoods Shopper Update” and “Global Homegoods Shopper Update” reports found that shoppers in China, India, Russia, Brazil—and Mexico, in the case of apparel—are buying higher-quality clothing and spending more on decorating their homes than in the past.

Department stores and specialty stores remain the preferred choice for purchases of apparel, accessories and footwear in most countries, according to the reports, based on research with consumers in 13 countries around the globe. But when it comes to shopping frequency, mass retailers, including supercenters, hypermarkets, discounters and e-commerce sites are gaining strength, par ticularly in mature retail markets. Other findings:

Consumers in less-developed countries are more likely to enjoy shopping than those in mature retail markets.

Online shopping is catching on in less-developed markets, but its rapid growth may be slowing in developed ones. In both cases, online shopping for home goods is limited, especially for home improvement projects.