For more than 150 years HSBC has supported businesses
as they strive to meet, and develop, consumer demand
for their goods and services. Back in 1865 we started by
helping Asian producers of tea and silks deliver their wares
to the cities of Europe and America, financing goods such
as textiles and cereal crops heading back to Asian ports.
Whilst there’s still a thriving international market for
these goods and commodities, the highly interconnected
world we live in today offers opportunities our forebears
could hardly have imagined. Tomorrow’s generations will
undoubtedly say the same of us too.
Since the mid-nineteenth century our world has gone through three phases of globalisation, which we explored in our recent Trade Winds report. Now we have turned our attention from the traditional forces facilitating global trade such as the physical movement of goods to new emerging industries such the services sector. The marketplace is less bound by geography with migration, travel and online purchasing and this will shape what businesses sell and how they sell it.
The result is this report on the Future of Consumer Demand.
Global consumption and consumerism is changing, driven by a rapid increase in the number of people who can afford to choose what they buy and how they buy it. Understanding these changes, and recognising what will influence consumers in the future, will become increasingly important for businesses.
HSBC’s Future of Consumer Demand report finds three macro trends contributing to significant changes in consumption behaviours around the world and international trade.
Growing consumer class
This report estimates that the number of people considered 'consumers' will exceed 90 per cent of the global population by 2020 as the numbers of those living on subsistence incomes declines1. Once a consumer’s basic needs are met, they can think about purchasing a wider range of goods and services.
Technology and power of data
Advances in digital technology, increasing smartphone ownership and growth in the number of Internet users have revolutionised the way people access, choose and pay for goods and services. People now have greater choice, and greater access to information, so they can be more discerning. Data is supporting greater levels of business insight into their needs, preferences and loyalties.
Transparency of business
With greater choice and access to information, the digital revolution is also allowing consumers to make choices based on their personal values and to use social media to put business ethics in the spotlight. Trust is also essential to the growing sharing economy – where people choose to exchange goods or pay for temporary access rather than owning something permanently2.
The report then considers the changes in values, attitudes, aspirations and behaviours in three demographic groups that are influencing purchasing patterns:
- Middle-income consumers
- Female consumption
- Intergenerational consumption
As a leading international commercial bank, HSBC works with customers of all sizes, from SMEs up to the largest corporations. The business insight this gives us, combined with the consumer insight we gain from banking millions of individuals around the world, means we are well positioned to help ambitious enterprises capitalise on future opportunities, wherever they may be.
The share of wealth these senior consumers command will also increase significantly by 2020.