Are "Emerging-Market Households" Replacing America's "Baby
Marketers and other social scientists may
soon be spending as much time analyzing the habits of a new group of consumers as they did America's baby boomers. The
new group is the consumers of emerging nations--huge in size, huge in its potential expenditures on goods and services, and
huge in its potential influence on societal values. This group will take on increasing importance as the American baby
boomers decline in numbers, the subsequent generations decline in wealth, and the American economy matures and wanes in relative
That proposition results from my having read
an interesting recent article in the McKinsey Quarterly on "How the role of equities may shrink." It is subtitled "A powerful new class of investors in emerging markets
prefers other kinds of assets." The article, reporting on a new McKinsey Global Institute study, says:
As emerging-market households attain a level of income that enables them to purchase financial
assets, they are becoming a powerful new investor class, whose choices will help determine global demand for different asset
classes. The actions of these new investors will, in turn, shape how businesses obtain the capital they need to grow, how
other investors around the world fare, and how stable and resilient economies will be.
The same approach apparently used
in this study-identifying and analyzing a spending category-seems applicable to facets other than the investment preferences
of consumers in emerging markets. Although there would seem to be no single, monolithic "emerging market household,"
it will be interesting to see whether and how observers come up with overarching similarities and then differentiate among
various national economies and social groups when it comes to spending and psychographic categories.
-- Jeff Bogart
Charlie, a professional
photographer I play tennis with, tells me that these days it costs as much as $10 to have an 8x10 inch black and white print
made from film by a custom lab, whereas it costs only about $3 for a color print. Wow! What a reversal.
I remember when it used to cost $3 for an 8x10 black and white print at places like Modern Age and Image in New York City,
whereas it cost about $10 for a color print from Kodak. But, maybe black and white should always have been more expensive.
After all, a black and white photo, carefully composed and with equisite tonalities, has greater expressive power than does
a color photo. Right?
-- Jeff Bogart