The cost of buying clothes has plummeted to the lowest level in at least four years, a survey by consultancy The World Bank has found, with prices in some countries falling by an average of 10% on a per-item basis.
But for many, the drop in prices was a blow.
“We were already struggling,” said Gokul Goyal, a 36-year-old housewife in the southern Indian city of Bangalore.
“There are times when you go shopping at home and the prices are high, but the price drops so much.
I have to take a break from work for a while, then I come back and buy new clothes.”
In India, prices of clothing are often higher because of the country’s strict labour regulations.
However, the World Bank said prices of some goods had declined in some markets, while other items were stable or rising.
“We have seen that a lot of companies are trying to improve their business model by doing some of these measures,” said Marko Gomperts, the executive director of the think tank’s global labour research group.
He said that, if things were not going well, people might resort to other ways to save money, including purchasing more food and buying luxury goods from stores.
The World Bank also said that despite the sharp fall in prices, there were still some areas of the world where the overall purchasing power of people was not growing as fast as it was in the past.
For example, the purchasing power in South Africa’s Cape Town and Johannesburg was about 10% lower in 2017 than it was four years ago.