• Asian countries are expected to exhibit the biggest growth of the consumer class among the world's 30 biggest consumer markets.
  • The consumer class is defined as a group of people who spend more than $11 per day.
  • Currently, 55% of the global consumer class live in Asia.
  • Nearly 76 million Indonesians alone will join the consumer class by 2030.
  • This will make Indonesia the fourth biggest consumer market in the world, behind China, India and the U.S.
  • Bangladesh, Pakistan and the Philippines also expect big growth.

Between the years 2020 and 2030, almost 76 million Indonesians will join the so-called consumer class, a group of people who spend more than $11 (in 2011 PPP dollars) per day. This will cause the country to become the fourth biggest consumer market in the world behind the giants of the field – China, India and the United States.

Even today, 55 percent – or 2.2 billion people - of the global consumer class live in Asia, especially in the world’s two biggest consumer markets, India and China. Despite the fact that Indian consumer class growth is outpacing China’s, the latter country is expected to remain the biggest consumer market in 2030. This is according to data by research company World Data Lab, published by Brookings Institution.

a chart showing consumer growth
Despite the fact that Indian consumer class growth is outpacing China’s, the latter country is expected to remain the biggest consumer market in 2030.
Image: Statista

The 52 million Bangladeshis joining the consumer class by the same year will make their home country rise quickly in the list of the biggest consumer markets, catapulting it from rank 28 into rank 11. Pakistan and the Philippines will add almost 60 million and almost 38 million people to the consumer class, respectively, by 2030, which will cause both countries to rise seven spots in the ranking of the world’s biggest consumer markets.

Among the 30 biggest consumer markets, Asian countries are expected to exhibit the biggest absolute growth of the consumer class over the coming years. While the expansion of the United States’ consumer class by 24 million people still lands it in rank 8 of the biggest growers, other established markets like France, the UK, Spain or Canada are barely growing anymore, causing them to rank lower on the list of the world’s biggest consumer markets as they are being overtaken by developing economies’ markets. This also applied to developed economies in Asia, like South Korea.

Circular economy

What is a circular economy?

The global population is expected to reach close to 9 billion people by 2030 – inclusive of 3 billion new middle-class consumers.This places unprecedented pressure on natural resources to meet future consumer demand.

A circular economy is an industrial system that is restorative or regenerative by intention and design. It replaces the end-of-life concept with restoration, shifts towards the use of renewable energy, eliminates the use of toxic chemicals and aims for the elimination of waste through the superior design of materials, products, systems and business models.

Nothing that is made in a circular economy becomes waste, moving away from our current linear ‘take-make-dispose’ economy. The circular economy’s potential for innovation, job creation and economic development is huge: estimates indicate a trillion-dollar opportunity.

The World Economic Forum has collaborated with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation for a number of years to accelerate the Circular Economy transition through Project MainStream - a CEO-led initiative that helps to scale business driven circular economy innovations.

Join our project, part of the World Economic Forum’s Shaping the Future of Environment and Natural Resource Security System Initiative, by contacting us to become a member or partner.

The development can be seen in relation to few people remaining outside the consumer class in developed countries but is also connected to populations in these countries growing more slowly or even stagnating and shrinking. This phenomenon can be observed in Japan, Germany and Italy where the size of the consumer class is actually expected to shrink until 2030.