By Juan Caballero, Marco Fengler
On April 14th, 2023, India is set to overtake China as the world’s most populous country. This historic event marks a turning point in global demography, with India reassuming a position it last held in the 1700s as part of the Mughal Empire.
The global consumer class—India or China?
At the turn of the century, the global consumer class (those spending more than $12 a day in 2017 PPP) was a western concept, and global brands were western brands, as the rest of the world was too poor to afford them. Today, more than half of the world’s consumers live in Asia, led by the momentum in India and China. These two countries now make up a third of the world’s population, a third of the global consumer class, and approximately a quarter of global consumer spending (in PPPs).
In aggregate, India and China appear very similar. Both countries have a population of 1.4 billion, this year they will each add around 30 million people to their consumer class, and in the past decade, both economies experienced high growth, around 5-7 percent annually. From a bird’s-eye view, India looks like China, or more precisely, a China-to-be.
While China and India will both be dominant markets in the world…