Middle class growth in emerging markets

Hitting the sweet spot

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Since 1800 the world has seen two great middle class expansions, and we are living through a third.

The nineteenth century industrial revolution created a substantial Western European and American middle class, which grew again after the Second World War – a spurt which this time included Japan.
Today this is happening in the emerging markets (EMs).

In Asia alone, 525 million people can already count themselves middle class — more than the European Union’s total population. Over the next two decades, the middle class is expected to expand by another three billion, coming almost exclusively from the emerging world.

This paper looks at this growth and how it will change both developing and developed worlds.

By 2030, so many people will have escaped poverty that the balance of geopolitical power will have changed completely, and global trade patterns will also be unrecognizable.

The twenty years in between will see more and more people entering the middle classes with new money and demands, and economists hope these consumers can help rescue the global economy.

Meanwhile, companies used to serving the middle-income brackets of the old Western democracies need to decide how to supply the new bourgeois of Africa, Asia and beyond.