Business and Development Sector Reports

Global Consumption Database released

In early May 2014, the International Finance Corporation launched a new database on the spending patterns of low income groups from around the world.

Global Consumption Database

Companies seeking to expand in emerging markets increasingly see the 4.5 billion people at the so-called base of the economic pyramid (BOP) as potentially important customers, diverse new sources of supply, and strategic distribution and retail partners. But they often struggle to find even basic data to inform their strategy.

To help with early-stage research and analysis of inclusive business opportunities, the World Bank Group has released the most comprehensive dataset to date on consumer spending patterns in developing countries.

low income consumption 2014

Via the Global Consumption Database, users can access spending numbers, view graphs and tables, and download data for analysis. The data can be broken down in several ways:

  • By country—for 92 developing countries and emerging markets
  • By location—for rural and urban locations
  • By consumption segment—for lowest, low, middle, and higher
  • By sector—for 12 sectors including food and beverage, housing, clothing and footwear, energy, transport, health, information and communications technology, education, personal care, water utility, financial services
  • By category—for 25 sub-sector level categories, including dairy, grains, meat and fish, and fruits and vegetables within the food and beverage sector
  • Specific products and services—for 107 detailed sub-category items, including fresh milk, preserved milk, eggs, butter, and cheese within the dairy category

The database indicates how up to 4.5 billion low-income consumers spend their money. For example, they spend $2.3 trillion on food; $508 billion on housing; $405 billion on clothing, footwear and personal care; $317 billion on energy; $298 billion on transport; $243 billion on health; and $193 billion on education. In all, these consumers represent a $5 trillion market in developing countries.

Consumption data is available by country, rural, or urban location, spending levels (lowest, low, middle, and higher), and industry sector. For larger countries (Brazil, India, and South Africa), the dataset provides information by state or province.

The database was launched at the Shared Value Initiative Leadership Summit in New York, where leaders from the private sector, civil society, and government organizations shared experiences in creating shared value between business and society.

Low-Income Consumers Data in Developing Countries

It can be viewed online at

You can also download a pdf report on the highlights and uses of this database at the link below :


To Top