I came across this interesting piece of research whilst looking around the website of global research firm Synovate. Basically, the research says low income consumers in the world's emerging markets want many of the same things out of life and the same quality in their products as middle class consumers.
The major difference is in their purchasing behaviour according to the global survey of over 8,000 consumers in 14 markets around the world including Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Mexico, Poland, Russia, South Africa and Thailand.
Here, largely in the firm's own words, are some of the main findings of the reaserch.
Synovate Executive Director Consumer Insights, Mike Sherman, said the results of the research provided an insight into this often neglected market, showing that a lower income doesn't mean lower standards, just different priorities.
When it comes to attitudes, low income consumers in emerging markets have many of the same life priorities, values and brand perceptions as their middle class cousins, the report found. Health, family and physical security are the top three most important things in life for more than 80% of low and middle income consumers, followed by a good home, an education and a good income.
Brand perceptions between the different income classes are also similar. Just under two thirds of low income consumers prefer local brands if price and quality are equal, one third believe local brands are as good as international brands, and 31% agree that most people don't know the difference between local and international brands, all responses that mirror those for middle income consumers.
Not surprisingly, where the two groups of consumers do differ substantially is in product ownership. Many more middle income consumers own personal computers and cars; and have bank accounts and credit cards.
However, mobile phones are no longer the domain of the rich and middle classes, with over two thirds (67%) of low income consumers owning a mobile phone, compared to 84% of middle income consumers.
Sherman said the research held some crucial messages for marketers, advertisers and any company wanting to target the lower income consumer."The low income market is large, and while not rich, these consumers are savvy, discerning and in need of affordable solutions that still deliver the core benefit they are looking for, as well as the quality," he said.
This may mean the same product in smaller, more affordable packaging, a scaled down version of a product or a product with simplified, less expensive design
The findings dovetail with a January article in The Wall Street Journal which read: “Shortly after adman Luca Linder took over Latin American operations for Interpublic Group’s McCann World Group in 2005, he polled 15 of its major advertising clients. What did they see as their biggest marketing opportunities? One surprising answer: people with low incomes.”