The emerging consumer theme is different from ‘emerging market’ investing, says Tassos M. Stassopoulos, portfolio manager ‒ global growth, emerging consumer, and thematic at AllianceBernstein. Speaking on ‘Emerging Consumer Strategy’ at its ‘2013 Investment Lunch Series: Bluer Skies and Longer Horizons,’ he said emerging market consumption is not a new idea. You could find it 200 years ago in the UK and 150 years ago in Canada. In fact, investors will be able to find it 10 years from now in Africa. Currently emerging markets consume 20 per cent of global production and by 2028 they will catch up with the consumption of developed economies. The trick, he said, is how to access it. Traditional approaches will only lead to the success stories of yesterday. To find the success stories of tomorrow, grassroots research is required. Using a purely sector-based approach will be too narrow, he said, which means a top-down tool is needed and fundamental company research, bottom-up analysis, is still the key. Investors need to find companies with the highest exposure to the transformation of the emerging market consumer and these companies may not presently recognize their potential. And the scale of the opportunity in these markets means that smaller players of today can be global leaders of tomorrow.
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