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Brief Published: 6 Apr 2016

Spotlight on Urban Spenders

Chinese workers' spending will account for 12 cents of every dollar spent in cities worldwide by 2030

Over the next 15 years, consumers in large cities will generate 91% of global consumption growth, according to a new report from the McKinsey Global Institute research firm. Among these urban spenders, just three demographic groups will account for more than half of the rise in global consumption:

  • Optimistic Chinese Workers: By 2030, the number of Chinese consumers of working age (15-59 years) will expand by 20% – an additional 100 million people. The group's per capita consumption is expected to more than double by 2030, with their spending accounting for 12 cents of every dollar spent in cities worldwide. Working-age Chinese consumers feel more optimistic about their financial future than previous generations.  
  • Surging Seniors: The number of retiring and elderly consumers in developed economies will expand by a third over the next 15 years, totalling 222 million in 2030. They will generate 51% of urban consumption growth in developed countries, and 19% of urban consumption growth worldwide.  
  • Squeezed American Adults: While North America's working-age consumers (15-59 years) are less wealthy than previous generations, their per capita consumption will continue to grow modestly over the next 15 years, from 7% in 2015 to 24% in 2030. These consumers face financial pressure and will continue to be cost-conscious.

Large-scale demographic shifts are transforming the global consumer landscape. To ensure future success, companies must not only tap into evolving consumer attitudes, but also understand how consumers' location, age and background will influence spending habits. See SXSWi 2016: New Core Consumers for more.