Global migration is a key feature of today’s interconnected world, driving changes in the economy, society and consumer market. Immigration has been the main source of population growth in developed countries, while emigration can foster knowledge transfer and boost income. Companies nowadays need to adapt to a more diverse consumer base and seize the various opportunities brought about by migration in the retailing, food, beauty, fashion, real estate and financial sectors.
Despite a short-term disruption caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the movement of people across borders is expected to remain strong in the next 20 years through to 2040, driven by various factors ranging from economic, political to lifestyle motivations. Migration is a global phenomenon, though it still concentrates in a relatively small set of countries, with the USA continuing to be the top destination for immigration and India for emigration. Countries like Canada, Germany, Australia and Spain will also benefit from strong immigration influx.
Immigration will account for most of population growth in developed countries in the next years, helping to mitigate depopulation and ease labour shortage problems, though it may cause a short-term burden to public finance. With diverse skills and innovative ideas, immigrants will also boost labour productivity. As remittances are set to increase alongside migration trends, they will contribute to boost income and thus consumer expenditure in emigration countries.
Many countries will experience a strong rise in population diversity, in terms of ethnicity, citizenship, language and culture, as a result of migration. A more diverse group of consumers will drive changes in demand, lifestyles and habits. As ethnic consumer groups are expanding and becoming more affluent, they will also gain growing importance in many consumer markets. Migrant households are often young and urban, making them an attractive segment for consumer goods companies.
As the consumer market becomes more diverse, combined with the growing trend of travel and foreign study, various business opportunities have been arising with fresh demand for food, retailing, beauty, fashion and financial services. Brands that innovate and adapt to population diversity should garner long-term success.
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