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As 2012 comes to an end, we look back at some of our key insights this year. A year when 22 of the world’s economies experienced negative economic growth, consumers in developed economies saw their incomes stagnate and consumer spending in the eurozone shrank to levels not seen since 2003. However 2012 was also a year in which consumers spent a total of US$41 trillion globally with spending in emerging and developing countries expected to have increased by more than 5%. The 2012 consumer was a value-conscious, mobile, experience-hungry, social sharing, green enthusiast.

  • In July, we correctly forecast that Team GB would win 65 medals at the London Olympics. Our forecast was based on economic and demographic factors, and analysis of the impact of host nation advantage.
  • Our analysis of the Top Ten Consumer Trends of 2012 was the most read article on Countries & Consumers this year. Two trends: Smartphone Universe and Tech Lifestyles Versus Slow Living and The Best of Both found particular resonance with our clients.
  • Africa became the focus of more interest in 2012 as companies searched harder for growth markets. The Untapped Potential of Sub-Saharan Africa: 5 Key Facts uncovers strategic insight into the region.
  • “Traditional” emerging markets did not lose their appeal and our special report on Strong Income Prospects in Future 7 Economies identified a middle class encompassing more than 113 million households by 2020.
  • Finally as the business world continues to look east, we analysed the impact of Asia Pacific Overtaking North America as Home to the Largest Group of High Net Worth Individuals with its implications for luxury goods markets and financial services as well as the impact of income inequality in an increasingly polarised region.

As 2012 draws to an end, our thoughts turn to the top consumer trends for 2013 and global economic prospects for the year. With an expected 135 million births, a global population over 7.1 billion and real GDP growth of 3.5%, 2013 will continue to be a world of two halves, with stronger growth in emerging markets and slower growth in developed ones still struggling to shake off the shackles of recession.

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