Megatrends Megatrends are long-term, consumer-driven trends that disrupt industries globally. We show you how to leverage megatrends to stay relevant and competitive in rapidly changing, consumer-centric markets.

Megatrend: Middle-Class Retreat

Euromonitor International Profile Picture
Euromonitor International Bio

Middle-class consumers are an important target group for businesses because they are the foundation and driver of consumer markets.

The ‘Middle-Class Retreat’ megatrend asserts that while middle classes are booming in Asia, the middle classes in developed markets are struggling to maintain the economic position they enjoyed for the last half a century. Middle-class households in developed countries have not seen any significant improvement in their standards of living since the 2008-2009 financial crisis, as a result of weak or stagnant income growth and continued economic uncertainty.

It is important for brands and businesses to understand the impact of this megatrend on their consumers’ behaviours and habits, and the potential impact on an entire industry in order to be successful.

Value is not all about price

The middle classes are moving away from conspicuous consumption, as they focus on obtaining the most value for money and optimising their limited resources. Key trends pertaining to the ‘Middle-Class Retreat’ megatrend are therefore rooted in the reassessment of values, ownership and priorities.

Middle-class shoppers are driven by the pursuit of value, increasingly conditioned to buy on discount, as well as turning into keen deal hunters. However, value is not all about price. Middle-class shoppers are also looking for other factions such as quality, customer experience, convenience, authenticity and novelty. The key to success for brands and marketers is to uncover and compete on these other factors.

Glorified Frugality

One aspect of this megatrend is the idea of ‘glorified frugality’, which sees the middle-class consumer celebrating how little something costs, rather than how much, whilst also reducing waste.

This is exemplified by the growth of discounters in grocery retailing. Since 2010 and the aftermath of the global financial crisis, discounters have seen their sales growth outpace that of hypermarkets. Meanwhile, hypermarkets have underperformed the grocery market performance since 2013, as consumers switch to more frequent shopping trips and demand smaller stores in more convenient locations.



For more information on how to conduct megatrend analysis for your business and the top 8 megatrends that will have the most impact on your business, download our white paper Megatrend Analysis: Putting the Consumer at the Heart of Business.

Interested in more insights? Subscribe to our content

Explore More

Shop Our Reports

COVID-19 Survey: 2020, A Year in Review

As the year comes to an end, this report captures the evolution of the sentiment, preparedness, impact, reaction and future measures taken by businesses during…

View Report

Megatrends, Sponsorships and Activation Strategies in Sports

Megatrends are re-shaping how we think about consumerism globally. This report looks at how some of these trends will influence the professional sports…

View Report
Passport Our premier global market research database with detailed data and analysis on industries, companies, economies and consumers. Track existing and future opportunities to support critical decision-making across all functions within your organisation Learn More