Cities and Consumer Demand

By 2030, 60 percent of the world’s population will live in cities, up from about 54 percent today – adding over 1 billion people to cities over the next 15 years. Over the next two decades, nearly all of the world’s net population growth is expected to occur in urban areas, with about 1.4 million people – close to the population of Stockholm – added each week.

Urbanisation is a crucial driver of economic growth. In fact, no country has ever climbed from low-income to middle-income status without a significant population shift into cities. Urbanisation also poses a series of challenges, however, to inclusiveness, the environment, economic efficiency, health and cultural heritage. For example, by 2025, one-third of the urban population (or 440 million urban households) could lack access to affordable housing. Cities are also responsible for around 70 percent of global energy use and energy-related GHG emissions. Congestion is already close to unbearable in many cities and can cost as much as 5 percent of national GDP (according to the Asian Development Bank), by measures such as lost time, wasted fuel, and increased cost of doing business. There are also significant health concerns related to air pollution and the rise of non-communicable diseases such as obesity due to change in diets and lack of exercise.


AlphaBeta works with governments, corporations and investors on understanding and responding to the challenges of urbanisation. We work with governments on developing sustainable urbanisation models and supporting infrastructure development; we work with investors on understanding city-level opportunities, including affordable housing and energy efficiency; and we work with corporates on identifying emerging pockets of consumer demand using satellite data and big data economic tools.


Examples of past work and insights

Developing sustainable urbanisation models in Southeast Asia
Identifying the investment opportunities emerging from cities
Scaling up infrastructure in Southeast Asia
Estimating the costs of congestion
Identifying consumer ‘hot spots’
Rethinking ASEAN Consumer Markets




Relevant Publications

ASEAN could be Australia’s next growth frontier

Singapore Business Times, by Fraser Thompson. Recently, Australia brought its largest ever overseas delegation of businesses to Jakarta as part of the Indonesia-Australia Business Week. It is the latest in…


Regulating the new economy

AlphaBeta Report by Tarah Barzanji & Andrew Charlton. Eight lessons from a case study of ride sharing, Uber and the ACT Government.


Rethinking ASEAN: New research by AlphaBeta and Nielsen on major consumer hotspots in ASEAN

Prepared by Nielson & AlphaBeta. While ASEAN has been enjoying economic recognition in recent years, many businesses approach the region as a single entity and surprisingly, little is known about…