Considering the continued growth of internet-connected audiences worldwide – nearly half of today’s global population – marketers have a crucial opportunity at their fingertips. Emerging markets, including China, India, Indonesia, and Malaysia, are predicted to reach $9.1 trillion in consumer spending by 2026. Brands will grow their global presence exponentially, all with low risk and high reward potential.
In fact, seamless storytelling across every divide – from devices, to channels, to borders – has never been easier. The widespread adoption of key connected channels, and the ability to execute localized strategies worldwide, brands will find that the entire world’s audiences are within reach, uncovering unparalleled opportunities for business growth in the process.
Tap into the untapped: new markets, new middle class, new ‘firsts’
The recent, rapid economic growth of some of these countries has prompted the simultaneous rise of an entirely new and flourishing consumer middle class. In fact, emerging markets are expected to add 510 million new middle-class households by 2026, driving the previously mentioned $9.1 trillion in consumer spending.
This new pool of consumers is divided between those entering the middle-class lifestyle and those reaching a new level of upper-middle-class wealth. The former is unique in that they’re experiencing a series of ‘firsts’, particularly for consumer products. Due to growing income levels and technological advances, these consumers will be purchasing the likes of cars, laptops, and laundry machines for the very first-time. On the other hand, the rising upper-middle-class consumers, particularly in Asia, have high demand for aspirational and luxury non-domestic brands.
There’s no question that emerging markets around the globe are increasingly ripe for the advertising. But success stems from more than delivering a global ad campaign.
The rise of this new consumer pool is nowhere more evident than in China, with over 400 million people (larger than the entire population of the United States) contributing to the growing middle class. And the purchasing habits of these consumers range from everyday items, with 26% of international purchases coming from online baby food and formula sales, to eCommerce, with an estimated $105 billion spent on overseas fashion products. So, with 64% of Chinese consumer purchases occurring on overseas websites last year, the opportunity for global brands is unquestionable.
Leapfrog traditional devices: the mobile and connected TV jump
With accelerating economic progress comes the ability for rapid growth markets to skip the traditional evolution process, in favor of direct adoption of more advanced technologies. Mobile represents a key example of this leapfrog effect, as 74% of the global mobile-connected population stems from internet users in emerging countries. In China, for example, mobile has quickly become the center of all internet usage. Making up for 70% of adults’ time spent online this year, the notion of mobile-first has taken on entirely new meaning, as advertisers begin to engage these essentially mobile-only communities.
Likewise, a similar leapfrog effect is happening across television, as consumers in China skip over traditional television in favor of digital video. This comes as no surprise, though, considering high-speed broadband is often more widely accessible and with a wider variety of content available. In fact, time spent with traditional television in China is expected to decline by 3% by 2020 while time spent viewing digital video is predicted to grow by 39%. So, as digital video continues to become mainstream, brands looking to grow their global presence could ask for no better medium through which to meet engaged audiences and build brand awareness.
Go global, think local: the power of tailored storytelling
Now we’ve established who to reach and where to reach them, it’s time to discuss what stories to target them with. After all, with these additional markets come vastly unique audiences, each with their own languages, habits, cultures, customs and interests. Amidst all these differences, the global marketers’ goal remains very much the same: to capture the hearts and minds of consumers everywhere with relevant campaigns that elicit action.
In China, for example, where more than 60% of in-market auto-buyers are making their first-ever car purchase, automobile brand General Motors responded by ensuring availability for second-hand cars in all 1,600 of its dealerships. In this case, a successful GM ad campaign in China might focus on the value of its second-hand products – an approach that may not resonate in other areas of the world. So, while the overall brand perception should remain the same globally – that GM is a trusted carmaker – the storytelling between markets should align with the specific audiences they’re catering to.
Ultimately, this all boils down to the simple fact that the internet, coupled with economic progress, is providing brands with access to what is likely one of the largest opportunities for major business growth. There’s no question that emerging markets around the globe are increasingly ripe for the advertising. But success stems from more than delivering a global ad campaign.
Rather, marketers looking to capitalize on global audiences will find success in truly understanding each of these unique markets – who they are, where they are, what they’re looking for – and crafting brand stories accordingly. It’s only then that brands will begin to reap the reward of the world at their fingertips.