The population in the Middle East and Africa region is growing rapidly, unlocking high levels of unmet potential and making the region an exciting prospect. Nevertheless, the fastest growing income segment is set to remain the lowest income class, indicating that successful strategies need to focus on these consumers. As pandemic effects continue to threaten female livelihoods, the gender income gap is expected to remain significantly high by 2040, despite empowerment efforts.
Total disposable income is set to almost double by 2040 as economies recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In most African countries, income is expected to slightly exceed pre-pandemic levels by 2040, whereas the Middle East region is set to witness more rapid consumer income growth.
Expenditure for essentials accounts for almost 60% of the total consumer basket, as poverty remains prevalent in the MEA region. The lowest income class (class E) is expanding in 17 out of 20 regional countries, with nearly 70% of the population living on less than USD5,000 per year in seven out of 20 countries.
Large-scale income inequality is set to persist by 2040, as the share of middle class households will shrink in almost all countries. As a result, companies will need to strategise among an increasingly polarised consumer market.
Women were affected disproportionately by the pandemic, as mobility restrictions had a severe negative affect on their livelihoods, mostly based in the service sector. However, the governments are expected to continue with implementation of economic diversification reforms, increasing opportunities for female empowerment.
Extended households and families remain the leading types of households, yet the single person households will grow rapidly due to changing lifestyles within the region.
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