bric spender

Over the past two weeks beyondbrics has run a series of posts looking at the rise of the emerging market consumer. To round it off it we head to the rawest end of Africa’s wilderness spectrum, where one multinational is trying to create a market for its product out of the dust.

The company is SABMiller, the South African brewer, and its venture is in south Sudan – a desolate region of parched scrub that could soon become the world’s newest country. It’s a branding gamble, and an extreme test of whether taking big risks in tough consumer markets really can yield bigger rewards. Continue reading »

From sneakers to skin cream, Chinese consumer goods companies are no longer willing to kowtow to the foreigners who taught them branding. What’s more, they are taking their game to the big leagues.

Take Li Ning, for example, the Chinese gymnast whose sportswear brand is going upmarket to challenge the likes of Nike and Adidas in China. The brand is neck and neck with Adidas for second place – suggesting that increasing numbers of Chinese feet are happy to be shod by compatriots. A Chinese cosmetics giant is now seeking to emulate Li Ning’s success. Continue reading »

By Samiran Chakraborty of Standard Chartered

Indian consumers are gearing up for a mega-shopping spree on the eve of the Diwali festive season, braving the inflationary heat. If recent trends are anything to go by, we could see record sales of various consumer durables over the next couple of months.

Data from the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) shows stupendous growth in some of these products for the quarter ended in June. High production growth in cars (34 per cent), refrigerators (32 per cent), air conditioners (50 per cent) and microwave ovens (40 per cent) demonstrates that the Indian consumer is waking from the slumber induced by the global financial crisis. Continue reading »

The Chinese might not have the freedom to get involved in politics. But the ruling communist party has given its subjects one freedom while opening the economy to the world since 1979, and especially since China joined the WTO in 2000 – that’s the freedom to consume.

The stories about the booming Chinese consumer market strike a discordant note on one level. After all, the dominant global political debate about the Chinese economy is about how the country is a chronic under-consumer. Continue reading »

Traditionally during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting, the hours when one can eat are filled with large feasts. The ubiquitous fast-food brands that dominate so much of Dubai’s eating culture see revenues collapse as day-time snacking stops and Muslims spend more time at home with their families.

But a new trend of healthy eating in the UAE means these brands face a longer term threat, too, as the challenge of the fast has quickened a broader trend towards healthier eating among the country’s middle class expatriate and Emirati nationals. Continue reading »

Moscow has always been renowned for its flashy nightlife, where the clubbers keep dancing, music keeps pumping and vodka keeps flowing well into the wee hours. These days, however, Moscow’s nightlife is starting to cater to the more mundane. For those too old and tired to tear it up on the dance floor, the Russian capital now offers a wide range of late-night alternatives. Forget clubs and discos – these days it’s all about 24-hour grocery stores, book stores and pharmacies. Continue reading »

Brazil is often seen as an image-conscious country whose residents are willing spend lots of time and money to make themselves look toned and beautiful.

Stereotypes are always exaggerated, but in this case a look at the number of fitness gyms confirms that there is definitely something to it. And gyms’ traditional status as havens for the moneyed elite may be about to change. Continue reading »

By Michael Geraghty of Citi Investment Research

As income levels rise in emerging markets, spending patterns  - and lifestyles – are also changing. Consumers are increasingly shifting from basic necessities to more sophisticated goods and services.

Perhaps the most immediate form of trading up involves expenditures on food. As incomes rise and diets change, three things typically occur. Continue reading »

Online retail promises to be the next big thing in Russia as shoppers, bruised by last year’s recession, turn to the internet for their bargain hunting sprees.

Russia’s online retail market is worth about $5bn a year, a tiny fraction of the country’s total retail trade, according to Ebay. But it could easily quadruple in the next few years as internet access expands and the novelty of glitzy city malls wears off. Continue reading »

When the market chatter is about rising commodity prices and threats to food security, wheat and barley tend to be the nexus of worries. But should we be thinking about eggs too? Yes, says Oleg Bakhmatyuk, a Ukrainian egg baron, who predicts that rising egg consumption in China and India is set to reshape global supply networks. Continue reading »

In a generally upbeat statement released on Thursday, the ADB warned that many members of Asia’s emergent middle class are still in a relatively precarious economic position – potentially just one economic shock away from sliding back into poverty – and need further support to strengthen their economic position. Continue reading »

Getting a plane in Latin America can often be a trying affair – and not only if you were booked on Mexico’s leading airline by passenger numbers, Mexicana, which filed for bankruptcy protection this month.

Strikes and delays are irritatingly common, airport facilities are often primitive, and nervous travellers may not want to recall that some airports still lack radars. But in a region seeing robust economic growth, passenger traffic is increasing sharply as middle-class consumers (and the employers sending them on business trips) get richer. Continue reading »

Who would have thought hi-tech gadgets would take off so fast in a country where the per capita GDP, at $1,050, is lower than the cost of a new iPhone 4 ($1,100)? But the unlocked phones are selling like hot cakes – four a day at Hoang Mobile in downtown Hanoi, according to enthusiastic sales staff in the cramped store just a few blocks from the equally tiny Digiworld, a licensed Apple vendor. Continue reading »

Take a stroll through one of Johannesburg’s wealthy northern suburbs, and you see a range of architectural styles among the lavish homes of the country’s business elite. But virtually every one will be surrounded by a perimeter electric fence, and have a sign on the wall warning potential intruders of an “armed response” by a private security team. Continue reading »

We’ll be looking across countries and continents, sectors and demographics, at the local affects of rising incomes. We’ll also explore the wider implications for the investment community, and for global businesses – whether they sell wrinkle creams, smartphones, or plane tickets. Why? The rationale is simple: the shifting wealth of the world – to the south and the east – represents the biggest historical change in how the world consumes. And the numbers are startling. Continue reading »