Global Income and Expenditure Trends

August 2021

As global businesses continue to face uncertainty and challenges posed by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, insights into global income and expenditure trends are critical in corporate strategy planning, as they help businesses predict the purchasing power potential and spending patterns of different consumer segments, and thereby identify opportunities.

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Key findings

Income inequality is set to rise

Income inequality is expected to worsen (or at least not improve) in the period to 2040 in 72 out of the 103 key economies that Euromonitor International tracks. This requires companies to strategise for increasingly polarised consumer markets.

Rising importance of the bottom of the pyramid (BOP)

In the context of rising income inequality and economic uncertainty, the expansion of the middle class is set to slow in many countries over the medium term. In effect, this increases the importance of low-income consumers at the bottom of the pyramid.

Hotels and catering is most impacted by COVID-19, but a strong rebound is expected

Global consumer expenditure on hotels and catering fell by 21% year-on-year in real terms in 2020, as a result of lockdowns and travel restrictions. Over the period to 2040, however, global consumer spending on this category is set to rise by 98% in real terms. This strong rebound is due largely to pent-up demand, but is also a reflection of the “middle class reset”, in which middle class consumers are shifting away from the accumulation of material things and towards “experiences”.

Older consumers represent an expanding segment

As a result of population ageing, the global population aged 65+ years is expanding, thus they are an increasingly important consumer segment. Additionally, this cohort is in good financial health, as a result of the lifelong accumulation of wealth and multiple income sources.

Asia Pacific to become the largest consumer market

In 2026, Asia Pacific is expected to overtake North America to become the biggest region by total consumer expenditure. China, India, Japan and Indonesia will feature among the world’s top 10 largest markets in 2040.

 

Introduction

Scope
Key findings
Global income and expenditure snapshot
Five key income and expenditure trends
Areas of opportunity

Income and Expenditure Today

Global income and expenditure in 2020: summary
Consumer expenditure declined in all regions
Hotels and catering saw the sharpest declines
Worsening gender income gap in the Middle East and Africa
Consumer expenditure in most countries has yet to recover
Middle class expansion is set to slow

Global Outlook

Relatively stable global income growth through to 2040
Asians to increase their already high savings ratio
Population aged 20-24 years to enjoy the strongest income gain
Population aged 65+ to be predominant in the top income band
Slowing consumer spending growth in emerging markets
Hotels and catering to be the fastest growing spending category

Top Five Income and Expenditure Trends

Top five trends impacting economies, companies and consumers
Worsening income inequality
Expanding low-income segment due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Middle class reset
Older consumers enjoy relatively high purchasing power
Asia Pacific to become the largest regional market in 2026
Key trends in brief

Rankings of Key Indicators

Consumer expenditure
Consumer expenditure by urban/rural split
Consumer expenditure by category
Population by income
Average income by age
Income by gender
Social classes
Wealth and high net worth individuals (HNWIs)
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