It’s the time of the year for planning: for the rest of the quarter, and the fiscal year. This week, however, I thought I’d concentrate on 2030. I also decided to focus on population and demography statistics, because at the end of the day, subscriptions are about people. And if you want to build a durable business, you should probably know where your subscribers will be coming from over the next decade.
Here are some interesting numbers that I’ve found:
Total global population in 2030: 8.5 billion. (It’s currently 7.9 billion, and is expected to stop growing entirely by the end of the century).
Percentage of the world’s population living in cities in 2030: over 60%.
Percentage of worldwide carbon emissions produced by cities in 2030: 87%.
Regions by population size in 2030 (in descending order): South Asia, Africa, East Asia (including China), Southeast Asia, Latin America, Europe. (In 1950 Europe had the second largest population).
Most populous country in 2030: India.
Largest national economies in 2030 (in descending order): China, US, India, Japan, and Germany.
Global middle-class population in 2030: 5.3 billion.
Total value of global middle-class consumption by 2030: $64 trillion. (It’s currently $35 trillion).
Number of people entering the middle class in emerging markets by 2030: 1 billion.
Percentage of Chinese population in the middle class by 2030: 70%.
Two thirds of the global middle-class in 2030 will reside in two countries, China and India.
Percentage of U.S. population at retirement age by 2030: 20%. (It’s currently around 17%).
Average life expectancy in South Korea in 2030: 90 years.
So what can we learn from all these numbers?
My first takeaway is, gosh, the global middle-class market is going to almost double in the next eight years. That’s a huge amount of opportunity. This isn’t just about personal consumption, either; all these new middle class entrants will be building new businesses of their own. Today every country has their own Amazon, Netflix, or Airbnb equivalents. What new business models will inspire the next wave of regional markets?
The second thing that jumps out at me is that if you’re currently doing most of your business in the U.S and Europe, you need to start thinking about China and India. The center of gravity of global consumption is shifting from West to East. It’s simple demographics. Payment methods, currency markets, language education and international tax law will become growth markets.
My third takeaway? Here comes the “gray wave”! Over the next few decades, the world’s population will grow less than half as fast as it did between 1960 and 1990. There will be more grandparents than grandchildren in many countries. If you’re a consumer subscription business that’s not thinking about the needs and wants of elderly people (who are also increasingly digitally literate!), you should be.
The fourth is urbanization. Over two thirds of us will live in cities, which will generate the vast majority of our carbon emissions. We will need AI, big data, renewables and smart buildings to help us create liveable communities that can manage all this growth responsibly. IoT will become the water we swim in.
My final takeaway? Go South Korea! My jaw dropped when I saw that life expectancy stat. Hopefully innovations in digital health, nutrition and mRNA technology will distribute those kinds of longevity figures far and wide.