Remember when emerging markets were in vogue? When those acronyms, the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and then the Mints (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey), offered promises of seemingly endless, unrivalled growth from a whole new set of consumers itching to spend their newly acquired wealth? These lucrative fresh frontiers were particularly enticing for those in the business of flogging consumer goods, from soaps and toothpastes, to mayonnaise and cars – you name it. But that emerging markets dream, which built steadily at the turn of the millennium, has faded, and the future looks decidedly different. This is a problem for governments, who had relied on growth to increase wealth and push up standards of living for the world’s poor. But it’s also problematic for consumer goods companies. As the developed world slowed, big multinationals, such as Unilever (ULVR) and Diageo (DGE), relied on places such as China and South America to fuel sales growth. How will they cope in an era of slowing growth?
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