Are you looking for new consumers? You are in luck
since they are everywhere.
Start looking at the so-called "emerging countries"
with double-digit economic growth and remember: "think globally
and act globally!"
Two regions of the world should be examined first:
Asia and Eastern Europe. Millions of consumers in these regions enjoy
disposable income as high as in the first-world countries.
A NEW MIDDLE CLASS
A new middle class is eager to "make up for
lost time" and forget recent miseries, such as the cultural revolution
in China and its subsequent dark period of hunger. These new markets
represent a golden opportunity for savvy international marketers. With
its enormous population of 3.3 billion people and an 8% average economic
growth, Asia is a prime target.
The so-called "Five Dragons" should be
a top priority: Singapore (+7.2% ) Taiwan (+6.5%), Hong Kong (+6%),
South Korea (+7.6%), and of course China (+12%). These figures demonstrate
that Asia is bursting the world economy.
FOCUS ON ASIA
An international company that does not consider
targeting the Asian markets will be obsolete in 20 or 30 years. By that
time, Asia will produce over 50% of the world's economic activity.Therefore,
an international, 21st-century company will have to include 30% of its
activity in the European markets, 30% in the North and South American
markets and a minimum of 30% in the Asian markets. By 2015, among the
27 world metropolises with over 10 million people, 17 will be in Asia.
The new industrialized Asian countries will attain
a comparable quality of life as the US in the year 2030 (with probably
50% for China and 80% for Korea). Furthermore, by that time, China will
represent 25% of the world's economy.
EASTERN EUROPEAN GROWTH
Looking at the European continent, we should note
that some small dynamic Eastern European countries are also demonstrating
excellent signs of economic growth. These countries include Poland,
the Czech Republic, and Hungary. Romania, Slovenia, and Bulgaria are
also on the rise with more modest growth. The Czech Republic and Bulgaria,
for example, welcomed over 34 million international visitors last year.
Some international corporations, such as Holiday Inn, Sheraton, Marriot,
Radisson, Hilton, Intercontinental, and also Accor and Kempinski have
already started (or are seriously planning) to invest in these small
East European markets. These countries are not quite ready to deliver
the quality of service expected by international visitors. They are
in deep need of streamlining and management know-how, which requires
an infusion of international marketing expertise.
Another group of countries with potentially explosive
growth includes Russia, Belarus, and the Ukraine. Though their economies
are still in trouble, over 32 million international trips were registered
last year. Russia alone "produced" half of these with a total
spending of 10 billion US dollars.
International marketers should not rush to these
markets without caution. Rules have to be followed and information is
the key component. Gather as much data as possible (see last issue of
Travel Marketing Decisions) Find a local partner and do it, step by
step, of course. Good luck!