Local shoppers go for quality

2009-10-05 00:00

QUALITY rather than the origin of consumer products such as clothing and shoes appears to be the main driver behind local shoppers’ buying patterns, judging by the comments shared yesterday with The Witness on the issue of whether consumers are actively buying South African-made products in order to support local industries.

The wider issue of “buying local” has come to light following comments made last week by the SA Traders’ Association (Sata) in relation to Indian “trade fairs” that sell clothing and other products direct to the public.

Sata said the number of these events has devastated parts of the local economy, while also accommodating foreign exhibitors who trade illegally.

Here are the views of some city shoppers on the issues of trade fairs and imported goods:

Vusi Radebe: Radebe, who is not interested in trade fairs, pays particular attention to the quality of clothes and shoes on offer in shops. He said he does not inspect the label in order to determine where the product is manufactured. “Chinese-made clothing and other imported clothes are not always of the best quality.”

Magnus Wilkinson: Wilkinson said he also focuses on quality rather than price of the product. He said he does not inspect labels, adding that he prefers brand-name products, particularly clothing, shoes and sunglasses. He believes that the government should protect local manufacturers and other businesses from the potentially harmful impact of imported goods.

Vishal Bhagwan: Although Bhagwan believes that the Indian trade fairs offer consumers good “value for money” during the recession, he would like to see them following the laws of the country when trading. “They should pay the taxes and employ local people so that everyone gains.” He said the trade fairs take place during a busy period when local Indian clothing shops usually sell clothes for the Hindu festival of Diwali. He said imported goods can damage the local economy, adding that the government should consider placing restrictions on imported goods.

Zinhle Mkhasibe: “I care about how the clothes look on me. I am willing to spend on good clothing that looks nice.” Although Mkhasibe is concerned about locally-made products, she is particularly interested in “stylish clothing and takkies”. She believes that imported clothing, especially from Asia, is hurting the South African economy. She also believes that some of the products are of an inferior quality and she supports further restrictions on imports.

Hans Moonilal: Moonilal said his family attends trade fairs, adding that cheaper products will attract the attention of local shoppers. He said the prices of goods at some local businesses are too expensive as they are “too greedy”. “Shops at the malls are too expensive,” he said. He does not believe that the government should place more restrictions on imported goods.

Margaret Barkell-Martin: Barkell-Martin is not in favour of imported clothing. She is conscious of the effect of imported goods, and is sympathetic to the plight of local industries. She noted it is difficult to find appropriate clothing for older people.

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