Over the past forty years, Latin American cities have boomed. In 1950, 40 percent of the region’s population was urban, but by 1990 it was up to 70 percent. Today, about 80 percent of the region’s population lives in cities, making Latin America the world’s most urbanized region. (In comparison, the European Union is 74 percent urbanized, the East Asia and Pacific region, 50 percent). By 2050, UN-Habitat predicts Latin America’s cities will include 90 percent of the region’s population.
The increasing size and power of cities in emerging cities will bring new consumers. Yet, most marketing executives still think in terms of countries rather than cities. However, urban markets are highly diverse and many of the fastest growing segments are likely to be in middle weight cities that are simply not on the radar screens of many companies.
Companies that understand the shifting urban marketplaces relevant to their businesses and build and early presence with sufficien scale are likely to benefit from being the incument with better market Access and higher margins. Looking at cities rather than countries as a whole can be eye-opening, particularly for companies whose ultimate customers are consumers. The capacity to understand specific urban markets enables more effective decisions on pricing, channels and marketing.