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Since the global financial crisis of the late 2000s, the middle class of many emerging and developing markets – particularly in Asia – have enjoyed rising incomes. However, the coronavirus pandemic is hitting these economies hard, indefinitely halting the expansion of the middle class there.
China, for example, will see spending in the middle-class rise by a negligible 0.2% year on year in real terms in 2020. Food spend will rise 16.6% this year in the country as COVID-19 sends food prices soaring and consumers eat more at home. For many middle-class Chinese consumers, the pandemic has changed spending values and habits, such as a huge uptick in purchasing second-hand goods.