How Consumers in the BRICS Spend


The BRIC acronym was coined by Goldman Sachs back in 2001 to describe four of the leading emerging markets of the time: Brazil, Russia, India and China.  The name caught on, and the foreign ministers of the BRIC countries decided to hold a summit in New York in 2006, creating a new institution.  In order to expand the group and thus cover more of the emerging world, the BRICs asked South Africa to join the group in 2010.  The aim was to increase intra-BRICS trade, investment and technology sharing in the face of Western dominance.

Globally, the BRICS account for 40% of the world’s population, a quarter of its land mass and a fifth of global GDP.  China dominates the BRICS in terms of economic might, with its GDP of US $13.4 trillion, 22 times the size of GDP in South Africa.  While South Africa has the smallest economy of the BRICS, it is still a significant power within the Middle East and Africa region with a well captialised banking system, abundant natural resources and an established manufacturing base.

Unemployment levels are relativity low and falling amongst most of the BRICS with per capita disposable income rising in all of the markets over the 2008-2013 period and every country experiencing an explosion of the middle class.

“Our new research uncovered not only areas for business growth but highlighted the power of the consumer in the BRICS.  The vast and growing pool of middle class consumers provide immense opportunities for consumer goods companies facing stagnant demand in developed markets,” said Gina Westbrook, Editorial Director at Euromonitor.

For more information, please see our latest strategy briefing, “How BRICS Consumers Behave.”