How to Target Evolving Urban Consumers

February 2019

While urbanisation continues to be a major global demographic trend, the urban consumer profile is also shifting, driven by population ageing, rising incomes and value change. Cities are therefore witnessing a rise in population diversity, a growing number of elderly and solo-dweller consumers, and a gradual shift of consumption patterns towards more services. Companies that can navigate through the increasingly diverse and complex urban consumer landscape are likely to garner greater success.

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Key Findings

Urbanisation continues to shape the global consumer landscape

With more than five billion inhabitants living in urban areas by 2030, city consumers, with their rising earning and spending power, make up the majority of global consumption and are the driver of major consumer trends.

Urban consumers are ageing and becoming more sophisticated and diversed

The profile of urban consumers is changing rapidly: the number of elderly consumers aged 65+ is rising, not only in developed but also in developing and emerging markets due to population ageing. Growing immigration has resulted in a rise in diversity and multiculturalism among urban consumers. Meanwhile, urban lifestyles continue to evolve, leading to changes in values and priorities among urban consumers.

Urban consumption will focus more on services

As income rises and urban consumers are ageing, urban spending patterns are gearing towards more services, such as healthcare, education and travel. A growing desire for experiences rather than things also supports this trend.

Brands should be prepared to adapt to shifts in urban consumer profile

To target the new urban consumers, brands need to adapt their business and marketing strategies to meet consumers’ changing needs. For example, companies targeting elderly urban consumers should focus on helping them to stay healthy and active, while ensuring that their products/services are easy for older consumer to access and to use. Also, the growing importance of services needs to be factored into the thinking of all consumer-facing businesses.

Key urban consumer groups to watch

The newly-urban consumers in developing countries, the elderly urban consumers in developed markets, the working-aged urban population in emerging markets and the urban singletons are identified as key consumer groups which are forecast to have growing importance for businesses.

Scope
Key findings
The future is urban
Most urbanised in Australasia, least in Middle East & Africa
Largest urban populations
Highest rise in China and largest decline in Japan
Large cities continue to expand
Impacts of urbanisation
Urban population is ageing and becoming more diversed
Urban families become smaller
Income and spending power continue to rise
Urban culture and values are evolving
Urban consumption shifts towards more services
Spending patterns in selected megacities: New York and Paris
Spending patterns in selected megacities: São Paulo and Manila
Adapting to the more complex urban consumer landscape ...
and the increasingly sophisticated urban consumers
Tesco: convenience for smaller urban households
Fonterra: capturing Chinese urban consumers’ shifting tastes
Coboc : lightweight e-bikes for active elderly
Cong Caphe : city coffee shops with nostalgic decor
Key urban consumer groups to watch
Top cities with the highest rises in population by age group
Top cities with the highest rises in income and expenditure
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