Understanding life in emerging markets and rapid-growth cities

In the next two decades most of the world's growth is expected to occur in today's emerging markets.

By 2050 it is anticipated that two-thirds of the world's population will live in urban areas. Developing countries such as Brazil, Indonesia and Nigeria will have transformed their economies, gaining a larger middle class with increased purchasing power. This will create important new consumer markets, each with much more ethnic and cultural diversity than the long-established middle class markets in the West.

A WARC paper (Sinha, 2016) predicted that, over the next decade, half of the world's gross domestic product (GDP) growth - and new consumer purchasing power - will come from smaller cities in these emerging markets. At present, close to half of the world's urban population live in relatively small settlements of fewer than 500,000 inhabitants, while only around one in eight live in the 28 mega-cities across the globe that are home to more than 10 million people. Urbanisation is transforming life in these smaller settlements, fuelling not only the growth of the middle classes, but a sea-change in lifestyles. Some of these smaller cities will eventually become mega-cities in their own right, with their own satellite towns attracting an influx of economic migrants from rural areas.