Euromonitor’s Markets of the Future reports identify Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Sri Lanka as the region’s next generation of consumer markets. Although consumers in these countries have limited purchasing power, growth is strong and rapid urbanisation, poverty reduction, economic growth and the establishment of modern retailing formats are supporting sales of a wide range of consumer goods. Many big-name brands are well established in specific categories, whilst local brands continue to dominate elsewhere.
Size versus speed
Bangladesh’s consumer market is by far the largest of the five countries – bigger than the other four combined. With consumer expenditure of US$139 billion in 2014, Bangladesh is a similar size to Finland. Bangladesh is probably best known for its ready-to-wear garment export sector but its scale and economic prospects mean it has the potential to be a vibrant consumer market in its own right. With per capita spending of only US$880 in 2014, low purchasing power means it is not an easy market for multinationals, but with the country’s most sizeable consumer product categories - packaged food and apparel - achieving sales of US$9,826 million and US$3,354 million respectively in 2013, it offers opportunities for those with the right products and services.