What Lies in the Fu­ture Can Be An­a­lysed To­day

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With the num­ber of city dwellers in­creas­ing at a rate of 65 mil­lion each year glob­ally, the ma­jor­ity of the con­sumer pop­u­la­tion will be ur­ban. The av­er­age con­sumer will be slightly older, since growth among ag­ing pop­u­la­tions in de­vel­oped mar­kets is out­pac­ing growth in the younger de­mo­graphic in emerg­ing mar­kets al­though age pro­files will, of course, vary by mar­ket. About 75 per cent of the 8.5 bil­lion peo­ple alive in 2030 will have both mo­bile and in­ter­net ac­cess. The mid­dle class in emerg­ing mar­kets will be sub­stan­tially big­ger and its mem­bers bet­ter off than their par­ents (av­er­age wages in China, for in­stance, are likely to be ap­prox­i­mately 45 per cent of those in the United States, up from 15 per cent to­day). On the busi­ness side, con­sol­i­da­tion will con­tinue, own­ers and in­vestors will be­come more in­ter­ven­tion­ist, and com­pa­nies will make bet­ter use of digi­ti­sa­tion, big data, and an­a­lyt­ics.

Spikes in in­put costs, even if par­tially off­set by fac­tors such as lower oil prices, could in­crease cost of goods sold and de­press gross mar­gins (in some cat­e­gories, by as much as ten per­cent­age points). Greater prod­uct com­plex­ity and ris­ing labour costs could push up op­er­at­ing ex­penses by three to five per­cent­age points.

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