BOP market data

Policy Instruments


Companies often lack the market information required to enter poor communities. Little market research is available describing what people in these communities earn, spend and consume, and sometimes even the number of people living in an area is unknown. Governments can compile and share BOP market data, including data from household surveys or social security programs so that companies can identify and better understand BOP markets. Such information can also enable governments to develop a better understanding of the BOP market.

Points to consider

  • Data Format: Data and research needs to be shared with the private sector in a way that is practical and easily accessible. Ideally, up-to-date data should be published in searchable databases for download to avoid extra effort of companies to re-enter data. Government should actively seek feedback from the private sector on which formats and which data are useful.
  • Comparability: International standards and guidelines for research are useful as a benchmark, especially for data collection. Using international protocols makes data comparable and thus increases its value to those using it for analysis or insight development.
  • Institutional Factors: Institutional infrastructure is often weak in developing countries, making it very difficult to locate and/or gather data. Funding is also often limited and data collectors are not properly trained.
  • Privacy: Individual privacy of survey respondents should be accounted for when making data available publically.

Case Example

Global: Developing a database of global consumption

The Global Consumption Database was launched in 2014 as a comprehensive database on consumer spending patterns in developing countries – a tool to help private sector companies identify business opportunities that can benefit low-income people in developing countries. It is based on government household surveys of more than one million households in more than 90 countries. It can help companies discover untapped demand and design market research to evaluate business opportunities.

The database indicates how up to 4.5 billion low-income consumers spend their money and data is free for download. It indicates that BOP consumers spend $2.3 trillion on food; $508 billion on housing; $405 billion on clothing, footwear and personal care; $317 billion on energy; $298 billion on transport; $243 billion on health; and $193 billion on education.

Consumption data is available by country, rural, or urban location, spending levels (lowest, low, middle, and higher), and industry sector. For larger countries (Brazil, India, and South Africa), the dataset provides information by state or province.