GEMs: Insights from Emerging Markets - July 2011
The last quarter saw another feather in the cap of the emerging markets as Li Na, the Chinese tennis player, became the first ever Asian to win a grand slam title. One by one the Chinese have conquered the world of sports and the few areas such as tennis and track and field which have traditionally been their areas of weakness are now seeming to be within their reach. While India has yet to discover its sporting prowess, in the game of cricket it has emerged a winner as demonstrated by the country’s World Cup win. However the Indians will be foolish to rest on their laurels, as Chinese who so far have confined their attention to another kind of cricket (the traditional sport of cricket fighting is alive and enthrals the Chinese even now) are now starting to take interest in the game of cricket!
Emerging markets continue their inexorable march forward and are becoming the bulwark of the global economy, preventing it from sliding over the precipice. In such a situation we have been conscious that it is a misnomer to label them as emerging markets (and that is the reason that we at TNS collectively refer to them as rapidly growing and emerging markets). It is widely forecast that China’s economy will sooner or later overtake the American economy – in fact some say that it has already done so on a PPP (purchasing parity) basis. The real question is when, if at all, it will overtake Western developed economies in terms of per capita GDP or income, giving the Chinese consumers the same standard of living as their Western counterparts. It is surprising that no one ever comments on this and the might of China is seen as frighteningly formidable even when it ranks around one hundredth in the world in terms of per capita income. Will China and India be content merely to become the largest economies in the world on the strength of their massive populations? Clearly not – the consumers in these countries have high aspirations and want to enjoy the same lifestyle as Western consumers.
While the aspirations of the emerging market consumers are understandable, it is widely recognised that their increased consumption cannot be as energy-intensive and cannot have the same degrading impact on the environment as in the developed world. The United States today has around 800 cars per thousand people, whereas China only has 50. The planet does not have the capacity to manufacture and absorb the number of cars that will take the Chinese and the Indians to the same level of ownership as in the developed world. The Innovation abilities of companies and governments will be tested to the hilt to meet the desires of the emerging consumers. We at TNS are focused on helping marketers enhance the quality of life in emerging markets by enabling them to understand their aspirations and preferences. In this issue of GEMS we talk to you about some of the ways in which we are attempting to do this.
We hope you enjoy these insights from emerging markets. Chris Riquier
CEO, Asia Pacific
Thailand by Peixin Low, TNS Singapore Ashok Sethi
Head of Consumer Insights
Rapid Growth & Emerging Markets