At the beginning of 2016, the world counted 30 megacities with more than 10 million inhabitants: from 11 million in Wuhan (China) to 37 million in Tokyo (Japan). In terms of consumer market size, however, the world’s megacities represent a much more diverse group. In 2015, annual consumer expenditure peaked at US$900 billion in New York, making it 52 times larger than in India’s megacity Kolkata. These extremes illustrate that while emerging urban markets are likely to continue their dynamic market growth, developed megacities should not be ignored.
Growth in Consumer Expenditure in World‘s Megacities: 2015-2016
Note: figures are provided in constant 2015 prices, at fixed exchange rates
New York, Los Angeles and London lead the rankings
In 2016, consumers in New York, Los Angeles and London are forecast to spend US$13-23 billion on top of what they spent in 2015 (at constant 2015 prices and fixed exchange rates). Over the same year, spending in Tokyo and Seoul is expected to surge by roughly US$7 billion in each city. Tokyo will account for nearly all increase of consumer spending in Japan. Growth in Seoul will account for 55% of national growth.
Consumer Expenditure Growth in the World’s Megacities: 2015-2016
Note: The width of bubbles in the chart represents total consumer expenditure in the city in 2015 (in US$ billion). The wider the bubble, the larger the market size of the city, as measured by total consum expenditure. Growth in consumer expenditure on Y axis is provided in constant 2015 prices, fixed exchange rates.
Although economic growth is anticipated to slow further in China over 2016, rise of private consumption will continue to outpace real GDP growth. Along with advancing urbanisation, it will lead to expanding consumer markets in virtually all Chinese cities that are researched by Passport Cities. Shanghai and Beijing, for example, are forecast to expand by US$11 billion in consumer spending each, while Guangzhou, Tianjin and Shenzhen will each surge by US$6-7 billion. Together these cities will account for 13% of national growth in consumer spending and 23% in national population increase.
With per capita spending anticipated to rise by 6%, consumers in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Tianjin and Shenzhen will not reach the average of the developed world in 2016, though higher spending per capita will shift towards spending more on discretionary consumer goods and services. For instance, a record number (more than 2.3 million) of Chinese consumers are anticipated to travel to the US for shopping holidays in 2016.
Hotspots outside of China include Jakarta, Bangkok and Istanbul. In terms of total consumer expenditure, they are each forecast to expand by US$3-5 billion in 2016. While spending per capita in Jakarta is relatively low (US$3,000 in 2015), Bangkok (US$6,000) and Istanbul (US$10,000) are roughly in line with Chinese megacities. By 2019, each of these three megacities is estimated to have 4-5 million households with disposable income over US$10,000, which will be about the amount that Tianjin, Guangzhou or Shenzhen has today.
Media headlines emphasise rapid growth of a number of emerging markets and contrast them with slow developments in developed countries. However, percentage change in consumer expenditure disregards the overall market size. As the quick overview here suggests, the largest absolute increase in consumer expenditure will take place in some key megacities of the developed world.
Detailed Consumer Expenditure Forecasts in the World’s Megacities: 2015 and 2016
|City||Consumer Expenditure, US$ billion 2015||Growth, US$ billion 2015-2016||Per Capita Consumer Expenditure, US$, 2015|
|New York (US)||900||23||44,626|
|Los Angeles (US)||529||14.9||39,506|
|Seoul (South Korea)||350||7.3||14,117|
|Buenos Aires (Argentina)||150||5.9||11,077|
|Mexico City (Mexico)||150||1.4||6,977|
|Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam)||22||1.3||1,928|
|São Paulo (Brazil)||149||-1||7,089|
|Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)||84||-1.4||6,709|
Note: figures are provided in constant 2015 prices, at fixed exchange rates.