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#reThink13 : Emerging Markets Have Emerged

Once you add emerging markets to your universe, you will recognize that they have already emerged.

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By Jason Anderson

If you haven’t yet expanded your research efforts into an “emerging” market or two, you would be easily forgiven for continuing to see countries such as China, Brazil, Turkey, Poland, Russia, and dozens of others as something for your to-do list. This morning’s advice, quite unambiguously, was to move it up toward the top of the list. The short version:

  • It is easier to grow in markets that are growing. (McKinsey)
  • China, Brazil, Russia, and India are 50% of that emerging market growth. (McKinsey)
  • Latin America, southeast Asia, and Africa are also billion-dollar growth opportunities. (McKinsey)
  • Even for companies with years of active research in China, as one example, the pace of change and growth is so unbounded that it requires constant attention to remain relevant. (GfK, Disney, Citigroup, HJ Heinz)

In other words, emerging markets have emerged, are culturally challenging, require significant investments of effort and care, and face strong competition from local market participants with native understanding of their markets and consumers. For people with natural curiosity about cultures and people, these are great opportunities for researchers of all types and industries. It’s an important challenge for all of us, but not to be taken lightly. Having worked on field studies in these markets for several years now, I can say with confidence that it’s an invigorating experience.

China has been a particularly satisfying piece of our research portfolio, now constituting nearly 1/3 of our research volume. Finding and vetting trustworthy local vendors is challenging, but critical; and, as Anthony Michelini of Citigroup stated, it’s imperative to get out of the “hotel bubble” and out into the real world. Bringing that experience back to your client is equally important.

Once you add emerging markets to your universe, you will recognize that they have already emerged. They are thriving engines of growth. So get your passports and visas – it’s time to take a trip.

On that note, if you’re attending the Insight Innovation Exchange event in Sao Paulo next week, ping me; I’ll be there too!

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