India Ranks First in the Emerging Consumer Survey
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India Ranks First in the Emerging Consumer Survey

The Credit Suisse Research Institute published its seventh Emerging Consumer Survey, the annual report on consumer trends in emerging markets. Key themes are e-commerce, aware consumerism, and the growing popularity of domestic brands.

The top three of this year's Emerging Consumer Survey are India, Indonesia and China. While both India and Indonesia have moved up by one place, China has dropped from the top to the third position. On the other end of the spectrum are Russia, Turkey and Mexico.

Trends present across all emerging markets (EM) are the recovery in customer sentiment, income distribution inequalities, and the widening gap between consumer groups (e.g. the rural vs. the urban consumer, the young vs. the older generation).

Emerging Consumer Survey Video

Richard Kersley

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The outlook for the top three countries is positive, with particularly high expectations for Indonesia. South Africa and Mexico are expected to face quite a difficult time. For both countries the reasons are political uncertainties and possible negative developments. While South Africans have to deal with domestic challenges, Mexico's future depends on external forces, namely the USA, the country's main economic partner.

On top of providing a close look at the eight EM countries, the report also examines four topics of particular relevance to the current consumer trends in the analyzed markets.

  • Conscious living – certain customers' choices may signify a shift toward aware consumerism. The Credit Suisse Research Institute analyzed spending on skincare, consumption of good quality food, sportswear popularity, and car sharing vs. car owning.
  • E-commerce – internet usage and online shopping continue to grow and remain a strong trend. However, as spotted by the CSRI analysts, in China and Latin America competitive conditions have started to change as traditional retail companies are developing multi-channel strategies.
  • Consumer behavior drivers in China and India – asserting the view that Chinese consumers are seeking lifestyle changes, and examining the impact of demonetization on consumer spending in India.
  • National champions – domestic brands keep gaining in popularity again, leaving the international brands behind. The authors look closely at the development of three sectors in three countries: cars in India, sportswear in China, and healthcare in Brazil.