Global Migration and Population Diversity: Trends, Market Impact and Opportunity

April 2020

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.

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Key Findings

Migration trend is expected to remain strong as the world is increasingly interconnected.

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.

Migration adds to the labour force, boosts productivity, remittances and consumption

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.

Population diversity is on the rise, shaping consumer lifestyles and demand

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.

Business opportunities arising from migration and diversity are numerous

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.



Key findings
Global migration snapshot
Global migration is driven by diverse motivations

Global Migration Trends

Migration flows highly dynamic during the 2010s
Most movements concentrate in a limited set of countries
Some small countries see very high migration rates
Forced displacements are increasing fast
The rise of overseas study and travel facilitates migration trend
Some mostly-shared characteristics of migrants

Impact on the Economy

The impacts of immigration
A major source of population growth in developed countries
Immigration positively contributes to labour productivity
But immigration also poses challenges
The impacts of emigration
The rise of migration continues to boost global remittances
Remittance inflows support consumer income and spending

Impact on the Consumer Market

Consumers now become more diverse than ever
Foreign citizen consumer segment is growing
Ethnic consumer groups enjoy rising affluence
Australia: Asia-born consumer cohort is set to rise fast
Saudi Arabia: foreign population is stagnating
Germany: greater opportunity from a more diverse consumer base
United Kingdom: Brexit will change immigration dynamics
USA: ethnic minorities set to become the majority

Business Opportunities

Migration and diversity drive changes and create new demand
Opportunities for the food industry
ConAgra Brands: rolling out new products with authentic flavours
Opportunities for beauty and fashion
SK-II: Asian beauty brand goes beyond the continent
Opportunities for retailing
Go Asia: capturing consumer food trends in Germany
Opportunities for the property and the financial sector
Xoom : transforming the remittance industry


A diversity strategy is needed for long-term growth
Outlook on global migration


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