Every day about 180,000 people move into cities. Add to that that half the world’s population already live in cities and it’s obvious that urbanization is one of the mega trend for the decade.
Needless to say this has an enormous impact on what we consume because urban consumers are more daring, liberal, tolerant, experienced and prone to trying out new products and services.
From one century to another
In emerging markets the difference between the country side and the cities can be tremendous. Like moving from the way we lived in the West in the 1800s into a modern 21st century life style. A move away from traditional social and family structures to being exposed to a wide range of alternatives.
Hundred cities – a third of the world economy
Just one hundred urban islands account for about a third of the world economy and almost all innovation. New York’s economy is for instance larger than that of 46 Sub Saharan African countries put together and, according to Foreign Policy, Hong Kong receives more tourists annually than all of India. Obviously other metropolises are keen to join. Not least Shanghai, Sao Paulo and Istanbul.
Will we all become city dwellers?
Considering that quite a few poor people from rural areas end up going from the ashes into the fire in cities, will this trend continue? Or will less people decide to seek their fortune in urban areas because of the problems associated with it? Will we consequently see the trend gradually slowing down? Or will it continue and even accelerate? Are more and more of us becoming city dwellers, for better of for worse? If so, world-wide consumption will change drastically on a continuous basis.
Catering to city-citizens
To appeal to the population of these vast urban areas you need an urban dedicated approach to products, services and campaigns that not only mirror but slightly alter the usual country specific approach.
Considering that 3 billion people already live in cities and 60 million are, according to Intuit, being added on a yearly basis, what are you doing to cater to their needs and requirements? Urban pride is something that shouldn’t be forgotten. Look at BMW’s Megacity Vehicle and Smirnoff’s Absolut Cities. And it’s not only luxury goods that is affected by urbanization. Even consumption patterns for things like shampoo and detergents are changing. How is urbanization affecting the kind of products and services you develop for the future? Are you adapting what you have to offer to the very specific, often more refined needs of urbanites world wide? Or maybe combining the country specifics with the urban approach to develop slightly different products tailor made for different cities?
(Photo: hamron – Flickr)