Emerging economies are an increasingly important source of consumer innovations, according to consumer insights firm trendwatching.com.
Developing World Gains Strength
trendwatching.com cites a number of statistics to support its premise that emerging economies are becoming a major source of consumer innovations that will have a global impact. For example, the GDP of emerging markets will grow to be about 1.3 times the size of advanced economies in 2050. China will be approximately twice the size of the United States in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms by 2050.
Meanwhile, India now has more rich households than poor, with 46.7 million high income households as compared to 41 million in the low income category. Sixty-two percent of Indian households belong to the middle class.
Developing Nations Offer Globally Relevant Consumer Products & Services
trendwatching.com has identified a number of consumer innovations with a global impact in 13 emerging economies. Today, MarketingCharts will highlight six of these innovations.
Colombia: Juan Valdez Cafe is a multinational coffeehouse chain with 120 outlets domestically. International expansion is driven by the Columbian Federation, who sees the chain’s success as a reason coffee contributes more than 8% to GDP. These plans have seen the chain open shops in Latin America, the US, and Europe, as well as distribution in US Wal-Mart Stores and 650 supermarkets in South Korea.
Rwanda: Meanwhile, Rwandan coffee franchise Bourbon Coffee operates a coffee shop in Washington DC, and is planning to open two more cafes in the US (New York and Boston).
Indonesia: EcoFaeBrick turns cattle waste into bricks that are greener, stronger and 20% lighter than regular clay bricks. The Indonesian organization was set up in early 2009 to tackle the problem of excessive waste in local farming areas. In a move to reduce carbon emissions, the EcoFaeBricks are fired using biogas, with this being the only variation from the traditional brick-making process.
Russia: In August 2010, Russian mobile provider MTS launched a digital campaign promoting their Data-Plan products that lets consumers take part in a weekly treasure hunt and adventure race. Each week, MTS unveil a billboard with a QR code which (when players scan it into their mobile) details a task and direction to the next location. The winner is picked from the players who scored the most points and prizes include products such as the Nintendo Wii.
Guatemala: Guatemala-based mapmaking company Where To Go Maps is working towards creating a globalized mapping system that would see their free artistic city maps available to travellers for all major tourist destinations worldwide. The maps present tourists with the best hotels, restaurants, bars, shops, attractions and sightseeing highlights that each city has to offer, as well as illustrating the specific locations of local businesses who advertise on the maps.
Philippines: In June 2010, socio-ecological bamboo bicycle making enterprise Bambike launched a new set of bike designs with headlights. Bambike employs people in rural Filipino villages to create the frames of the bikes from local bamboo plants. The fair-trade labor is part of the Gawad Kalinga development program to educate and improve community living.
China, India Offer Innovations
trendwatching.com has also identified consumer innovations originating from other emerging economies. For example, Chinese company BYD is the world’s largest supplier of rechargeable batteries. Domestically, the organization has branched out into the electric vehicle sector and US and European expansion is rumored.
In addition, One Billion Minds is an Indian prize-led innovation platform that connects problem-solving scholars with solution-seeking companies and non-profits. One Billion Minds challenges student and alumni crowds from universities worldwide to come up with innovative solutions to real-world problems. Prizes from the participating corporations include cash, professional recognition, and opportunities to interview for full-time or internship positions.