It's well known that the production of consumer goods has shifted overwhelmingly to the East over the past thirty years, but that consumer demand has stayed largely in the rich western economies. Most of China's break-neck growth, for example, has been fuelled by investment and exports rather than domestic consumption. While it's true that China has recently emerged as the world's largest market for both cars and cell phones, and its middle class of some 157 million people is large in absolute terms (second only to the US), it still represents just 12% of the population.10 And the middle class is even less developed in other emerging giants such as India. But this could be about to change – according to a plethora of reports from international authorities, consultancies and investment houses11 – creating the potential for a surge in demand for consumer goods that depend on cold chain services.
11For example: The emerging middle class in developing countries, Homi Kharas, OECD Development Centre, January 2010, http://www.oecd.org/dev/44457738.pdf; Hitting the sweet spot, the growth of the middle class in emerging markets, Ernst & Young, http://www.ey.com/GL/en/Issues/Driving-growth/Middle-class-growth-in-emerging-markets---The-middle-class-effect-and-the-growth-sweet-spot; Next big spenders: India's middle class, McKinsey Global Institute, May 2007, http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/mgi/in_the_news/next_big_spenders_ indian_middle_class; Winning in Emerging-Market Cities, A Guide to the World's Largest Growth Opportunity, Boston Consulting Group, 2010, http://www.bcg.com/documents/file60078.pdf; Emerging Asia's middle class, A force to be reckoned with, 21 August 2009, Deutsche Bank Research, http://www.dbresearch.com/PROD/ DBR_INTERNET_EN-PROD/PROD0000000000245808.pdf; 2nd Annual Middle Class Phenomenon in Emerging Markets, September 2014, http://middleclassconference.robinson.gsu.edu/call-papers/