The Fourth Industrial Revolution is transforming entire systems of production, distribution and
consumption, providing both opportunities for value creation through game-changing technologies
and challenges on ensuring inclusivity. Emerging business models enabled by disruptive technologies
are a source of tremendous innovation. With consumer spending as an engine of economic activity,
the emerging power of technology as a catalyst to create new economic opportunities for all is
paramount to progress. In brief, to successfully navigate through the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a
premium will be placed on innovation, the willingness of organizations to disrupt themselves, a quest
for active collaboration and a commitment to advance inclusive growth strategies.
In this context of seismic change, the World Economic Forum’s System Initiative on Shaping the
Future of Consumption envisions a future where technology is firmly embedded in people’s lives,
making daily consumption experiences simpler, accessible, highly personal and more enjoyable, while
also imbued with trust and in harmony with nature. It takes a holistic view of addressing the question
of how technological disruption can drive enhanced models of consumption with sustainable benefits
for business and society, across developed and emerging markets.
Over the next decade, shifting global forces, the over one billion first-time consumers and the Fourth
Industrial Revolution, will continue to change the landscape of consumption in the fast-growth
consumer markets of China, India and the ASEAN region. Both business and political leaders will
need to adapt their strategies to the changing needs and demands of connected and empowered
consumers. The Future of Consumption in Fast-Growth Consumer Markets, a multi-year project,
focuses on the evolution of consumption in emerging markets that comprise over 40% of the world
population. Critical foresights around drivers of growth and levers of inclusivity can benefit global
leaders as they grapple with similar issues. Efforts under consideration will ensure they are scalable.
The 2017 study focused on China and this report provides an initial look at this project’s efforts
to understand the world’s second-largest economy, poised to become number one by 2030. This
report is based on discussions with leaders from global and Chinese companies in a range of sectors;
innovators, disruptors, policy-makers and academics in China; consumers in different age groups
across China’s provinces (through focus groups and surveys); and extensive secondary research.
The project team of the World Economic Forum would like to extend its appreciation and gratitude to
all the parties who played a key role in the development of this Insight Report: the Bain & Company
team led by Bruno Lannes, the Project Steering Committee, and all participants who contributed via
our workshops and interviews. We are confident that our collective effort will contribute to realizing a
prosperous future with sustainable benefits for both business and society.