In a comment article written for BBC Business News, Kent wrote: “Over the next decade, success or failure for consumer goods companies and retailers will be measured by the speed and thoroughness with which we're able to adapt to change at all levels – global, national, local and personal.”
For those who can adapt to change, Kent predicted a profitable future. “I firmly believe there is a bright future ahead for those who can best adapt to our rapidly changing world."
But realising that potential would depend on deploying continuous innovation, building more sustainable businesses and collaborating toward better optimised supply chains. It would also be important to drive “ … brand value and sales through greater engagement with increasingly sophisticated and tech-savvy consumers”.
Kent called the top five mega-trends: mass urbanisation, we're getting older, the middle class cometh, consumers in the driving seat and what about the planet?
More than half the world’s population now live in cities, wrote Kent. But that figure is expected to soar to 70% by 2050. This “monumental shift” will create significant challenges for consumer goods and retail industries in managing supply chain and logistical challenges.
“Our businesses will not only need to collaborate better with each other but also work more closely with cities as they modernise their infrastructures,” he wrote.
The 'we're-getting-older' mega-trend reflected the fact that by 2047, people over 60 will outnumber those under 15. This will bring opportunities for some industries, as more mature consumers have greater disposable income, he predicted.
The 'middle class cometh' mega-trend heralded what Kent described as “the greatest economic shift in history” with the global middle class predicted to grow by another 1bn over the next 10 years.
More than 90% of the world’s middle class are expected to live in emerging markets by 2030, up from 50% today. Nations with the largest middle classes are predicted to be India and China. “While this new wealth represents a huge growth opportunity for manufacturers and retailers, it is also likely to create new resource stresses and cost pressures on some commodities,” wrote Kent.
As consumers took the driving seat, he warned that many of the old rules governing consumer goods industries would no longer apply. Consumers’ expectations are increasing “at a dizzying pace” with new technologies driving change.
2bn global mobile users
By next year, more than 2bn global mobile users will have made a purchase via their handset, he predicted. Within eight years, a third of consumer purchases are expected to be made online.
“Ultimately, new ways of connecting offer fresh and exciting opportunities to engage with digital consumers and improve their shopping experiences,” he wrote. “Even so, retailers and fast moving consumer goods firms will need more advanced real-time insights to better serve this dynamic, fragmented market.”
Finally, the 'what-about-the-planet?' mega-trend highlighted the need for stark statistics of population growth. “By 2030, the world's population will reach 8.3bn, boosting demand for food and energy by 50% and for fresh water by 30%.
“In this light, sustainability is simply smart business.”
Kent delivered his views on the top five mega-trends to more than 800 representatives from the world’s leading retail and fast-moving consumer goods business at the annual global summit of the Consumer Goods Forum. The meeting took place in Istanbul this week.
Coca-Cola Company’s five mega-trends
- Mass urbanisation
- We're getting older
- The middle class cometh
- Consumers in the driving seat
- What about the planet?