When they were unbanked, uncredited and
unregulated, brands were uninterested. But as billions from Guangzhou to
Kolkata and Lagos to Santos, earn more, gain access to credit and the ability
to spend on what they want rather than what they need, brands are very much
interested in this growing group of consumers.
Having tracked the NEAs since 2012, it was
2014 that saw a tipping point in their significance. This was the year mankind
officially became an urban species, with 54% of humanity residing in cities. Most
of this urban migration has taken place in the emerging economies – the BRICs
and now MINTs that have become so central to global brand strategy.
Urban living is echoed in urbane behaviour.
NEAs are living in shopping malls and through mobile devices, buying smaller
and cheaper products and services to better suit their needs. They are learning
how to be consumers on their own terms, feeling proud of themselves and their
countries, aspiring to better lives and feeling anxious about keeping up with
their new and newly middle-class neighbours.
In a crowded Western market, beverage
behemoth Diageo is looking to the NEAs to drive growth and innovation. The last
financial year alone saw the launch of 24 new products in Africa, but this
messaging around Snapp in Kenya caught our eye. Aimed at women in their 20s, it
drew on aspirational themes of female power.
Key Development: taking a firm step towards the Athena
Woman macrotrend, Diageo identified a new market of women no longer content
with patriarchal culture.
Obi Mobiles India
July: World Bank study on Mobile penetration
A key aspect of NEA consumption is the technological
leapfrog effect played by mobile phone connectivity. Often struggling with
inefficient local government and poor infrastructure, NEAs take connectivity
into their own hands. This landmark World Bank report found that around
three-quarters of the world’s population now have mobile phones, rising from
1bn in 2000 to 6bn in 2012.
the NEAs are a moving target for brands, but are
receptive to mobile-focused approaches that we see come of age in The
New Value Economy.
Despite being one of the most recognisable
brands in the world, McDonald’s has struggled to resonate with Hindu and Muslim
populations in India, which follow religious prescriptions on beef and pork,
respectively. With only 271 outlets on the sub-continent, McDonald’s began
trialling vegetarian-only kitchens as a way to resonate with NEAs.
although aspiring to perceived Western lifestyles,
NEAs must always be met on their own terms. No global brand is strong enough to
bulldoze local customs.
new product followed years of intensive market research and product testing
focused on the Chinese consumer, which suggests that a local form of revivalism
will be key to Osiao’s success. The product line contains locally prized
ingredients such as ginseng and sales counters resemble traditional
apothecaries in a bid to engage customers in a diagnostic process common in
understanding local behaviour is one thing, but using local materials and
ingredients gives brands an even greater foothold in NEA communities.
Designed and built specifically for Africa,
The Kleek features music from Universal’s international catalogue and from
local African artists such as the Power Boyz in Angola and W4 in Nigeria. The
service, optimised for Samsung phones, was initially available for free. Users
of The Kleek are able to access a variety of artists, genres and celebrity
playlists and listen to exclusive album previews.
Key Development: delivering a mix of international culture and homegrown talent is
a popular strategy with NEAs.
Of the 529 MAC stores around the world, 380
are now found outside of the US, where parent company Estée Lauder is based. Group
president John Demsey says MAC’s ability to target NEAs makes it the ‘single biggest
source of growth for the company’. Estée Lauder generated 63% of its revenue
outside of the US in 2012.
Development: the beauty market is being turned on
its head and the seeds of the Multicultural Beauty trend are being sown here.
Faced with the gap between sub-standard
street market products and high-end malls beyond their price range, Nigerian
NEAs are turning to online shopping in droves. The majority of sales go through
local online marketplaces such as Konga and Jumia, connecting independent
retailers with consumers across multiple categories. Jumia, launched in 2012,
gets close to 100,000 unique visitors a day according to a 2013 report by the
Development: Nigerian NEAs still pay for their e-commerce
in cash on arrival, a key innovation that has facilitated growth.
The Middle East is a focus for NEA luxury
travel, particularly for the Chinese, for whom Dubai is the ninth most popular
international destination, according to an Essential China Travel Trends
report. The market continues to welcome a number of new luxury hotels,
including Hilton Hotel’s Waldorf Astoria and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts.
Key Development: no longer content to blindly consume luxury, NEAs are calling for
media sources that can quench their thirst for information as well as objects.
Social check-in app Foursquare created an
app that works with Nokia’s S40 phones and Asha series, opening up a new market
of hundreds of millions of users to the software company. This partnership gives
both parties greater reach in emerging economies as more people gain access to
a reliable mobile network.
Key Development: technology companies were the first to identify that NEAs are
mobile-heavy consumers and are delivering innovations that can cater for the
The first project Value Retail has
undertaken in China, opened in this 2,500-year-old city, which is a popular
tourist destination among China’s urban NEA population. Within two hours’ drive
of Shanghai, Suzhou Village has a potential customer base of well over 140m.
Scott Malkin, co-founder of Value Retail, forecast 10m visitors in the first
year of business. Value Retail also plans to open a Shanghai Village in spring
Development: With Chinese customers accounting for
42% of Bicester’s total tax-refunded sales, according to The Economist, opening
a shopping village in China is a logical next step for Value Retail.
Building on their existing suite of tools on Webmaker.org, this non-profit branch of Mozilla aims to empower NEAs. ‘Our intention with the Webmaker app is to help first-time smartphone users to see themselves as active users, rather than recipients of technology,’ Ben Moskowitz, new programme developer at Mozilla Foundation, tells LS:N Global.
Key Development: technology companies are looking to emerging markets to drive innovation, putting power in the hands of the NEAs
Lane Crawford, a luxury goods and design
retailer with stores in Hong Kong and China, stocked a special collection of 65
signature products, from quintessentially British tea blends to biscuits,
chocolates and bespoke hampers. The products were available in Lane Crawford’s
Hong Kong stores, in dedicated Christmas-themed pop-up spaces that replicated
Fortnum & Mason’s iconic façade and interior, as well as online.
Development: old world luxury brands carry a cache
that NEA retailers are increasingly savvy to.
The Studio of Vanities by Omar Victor Diop at the Making Africa Exhbition, The Vitra Design Museum, Germany
Digitally native African designers are
using new media platforms to shed light on a continent that is a hub of
experimentation. Curated by Amelie Klein, along with consulting curator Okwui
Enwezor, the exhibition presents the works of more than 120 artists and
designers, including the architecture of Francis Kéré, animation art by Robin
Rhode and photography by Mário Macilau.
Development: NEA Millennials are not just consumers
of Western luxury but are becoming a source of global talent and inspiration.
Fangsuo Bookstore by Chu Chih Kang Space Design, Chengdu
Chengdu is an emerging first-tier luxury
market and in 2013 retail sales reached £41bn (Rmb375bn, €56.3bn, $60.5bn). Located
in a downtown development near the ancient Daci Temple, Fangsuo Bookstore
balances modern luxury with ancient inspiration. Thirty-seven nine-metre-high
concrete columns create the impression of a modern temple and support a ceiling
of exposed pipes.
Development: The Chinese luxury consumer is growing
in sophistication, not only in established markets such as Beijing and Shanghai,
but also in regional centres.
rise of the New Indian Tastemaker is facilitated by the sharp increase of
internet penetration in the country and a significant rise in disposable
income. These influencers extend beyond
fashion and into travel, food, art and health. LS:N
Global’s three case studies capture this diversity. Pavitra Mohan, 31, is a
curator and art blogger with a focus on South Asia. Gia Kashyap, 24, is a
Mumbai-based mass media graduate turned fashion blogger, and Siddhartha Joshi,
34, is a travel-obsessed designer and blogger.
Key Development: Well-connected, passionate and influential, these New Indian
Tastemakers are creating a style of expertise that is rooted in Indian culture
– and the world is watching.
Nataal digital platform showcasing African culture, London
Founded by Mauritanian native Sy Alassane, Nataal highlights the people and products
that are bringing Africa to the forefront of the world stage, and offers an
insight into trends developing among Africa’s rapidly growing middle class.
interviews with local and international personalities, ranging from fashion
designers to chefs, who convey a particular interest in African culture.
Key Development: The rapid growth of Africa’s middle class
has instigated an explosion in the continent’s commodities market and
stimulated a wave of internal creativity.