Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Sri Lanka: five markets home to a combined 253 million people, representing a total consumer market of US$213 billion. These economies represent some of the best potential growth markets for consumer goods companies in the region. Knowledge – of the market, consumers, business environment partners and suppliers – is key to success in these lesser-known and frontier economies. Optimism abounds, but challenges are also apparent.
Between 2014 and 2030 real GDP growth in these economies is expected to average 7.0% per annum – compared to 6.1% in emerging Asia as a whole. Total consumer expenditure will triple in Laos in real terms between 2014 and 2030. In Sri Lanka, per capita consumer expenditure will approach US$6,000 (in 2013 prices) in 2030 – way above the average for emerging Asia and higher than that of established emerging markets in the region such as Indonesia and India. Consumer market growth in these five economies will be driven by a combination of factors including population growth, urbanisation, prudent fiscal policies, tourism, increasing global trade linkages and natural resources.