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By: Carrie Lennard

The world’s urban population is rapidly rising in both developed and emerging markets. 52.7% of the world’s population in 2013 lived in urban areas, up from 50.4% in 2008. This is having a direct influence on the types of dwelling that populations live in, boosting the numbers of inhabitants of apartments. It also decreases the average size of dwellings. This is shaping trends in the consumer goods industry and creating a preference for goods to meet the need for the reduced space.

Global Urban/ Rural Households: 2008-2013

Source: Euromonitor International from national statistics

  • The number of urban households globally in 2013 was already nearly two times higher than the number of rural households, at 1.2 billion compared with 759 million rural households. 52.7% of the world’s population in 2013 lived in urban areas, up from 50.4% in 2008;
  • While the number of both are growing, urban households are also rising more rapidly than rural, driven by a mass migration in emerging markets to cities;
  • This is part of the global trend of economies shifting away from agricultural employment towards service based industries, most of which are located in larger cities;
  • The urbanisation trend is having a major impact on the types of dwelling people live in globally: apartment dwelling is on the rise at the expense of houses, and more people are living in smaller properties as property prices are more expensive in urban areas. The number of apartment dwelling households globally rose by a total of 17.3% from 2008-2013 compared with 4.9% for detached houses and 7.0% for semi-detached;
  • This means that apartments accounted for 36.3% of all households globally in 2013, up from 33.9% in 2008;
  • The implications on the consumer goods industry of this trend are huge, and wide reaching. As apartments tend to be smaller than houses and lack gardens, this is also triggering a demand for space saving items. This could include more compact household furniture such as beds and furniture, sales of shower products as opposed to bath products in beauty and personal care, and smaller pack sizes in packaged foods. It could also contribute to a rise in innovation in compact household appliances.

 

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