ETF Trends
ETF Trends

The United States has long had the reputation as the world’s greatest consumer, but rapid growth in emerging markets – both economically and population-wise – may soon translate into a more empowered consumer base. Global consumer exchange traded funds (ETFs) may be a good way to gain exposure to this shift in dynamics.

According to Qing Wang, Morgan Stanley’s chief economist for greater China, China’s consumption will be equal to two-thirds of U.S. consumption by 2020 and 12% of global consumption, replacing investments and exports as the main driver of China’s economic growth, reports Hao Li for International Business Times.

As a result of China’s labor-intensive services industries, end of surplus labor supply and overall growth, China’s household income should steadily increase and help lift domestic consumption. Wang also adds that the high savings rate may “peak out and even start to decline through 2020” because more government spending, redistribution of income to poorer households and an aging population will put downward pressure on savings.

The international consumer behavior research firm Trendwatching found that consumer brands in emerging markets are on a hot streak thanks to urban consumers who are becoming wealthier, more sophisticated, more mobile and more educated, writes Jon Markman for MarketWatch.

Consequently, urbanization has created an influx of confident, enthusiastic, creative, entrepreneurial pioneers who are starting their own domestic name brands that are competing quite well against foreign products.

GDP growth in emerging markets is expected to be 34% in 2010 and increase to 39% by 2015. The middle class in developing countries is around 2 billion people who could spend $6.9 trillion per year, and the number could hit $20 trillion by 2020.

For more information on consumers, visit our consumer staples category. According to the ETF Analyzer, there are three emerging market consumer plays, and two international consumer funds:

  • EGShares Emerging Markets Consumer (NYSEArca: ECON)
  • Global X Brazil Consumer ETF (NYSEArca: BRAQ)
  • Global X China Consumer ETF (NYSEArca: CHIQ)
  • iShares S&P Global Consumer Discretionary Sector Index Fund (NYSEArca: RXI)
  • iShares S&P Global Consumer Staples Sector Index Fund (NYSEArca: KXI)

Max Chen contributed to this article.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.