Share this page

IFC Launches World’s Largest Database on Low-Income Consumers in Developing Countries

Washington, D.C., May 13, 2014 —IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today launched the world’s most 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.
The Global Consumption Database, launched in cooperation with the World Bank, is based on government surveys of more than 1 million households in more than 90 countries. It is available at and can help companies discover untapped demand and design market research to evaluate business opportunities.
“By making data on spending freely available in a form that is useful to the private sector, we aim to lower the up-front cost of exploring inclusive business opportunities—reducing a critical barrier to investment and promoting shared prosperity,” said Jin-Yong Cai, IFC Executive Vice President and CEO.
IFC has a track record in investing in companies that provide access to affordable goods and services by including low-income consumers, retailers, suppliers, and distributors in their value chains. Since 2005 it has invested more than $9.5 billion in debt and equity in more than 400 emerging-market companies that have adopted inclusive business models ( )
The database indicates how up to 4.5 billion low-income consumers spend their money. For example, they 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. In all, these consumers represent a $5 trillion market in developing countries.
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.
The database was launched at the Shared Value Initiative Leadership Summit in New York, where leaders from the private sector, civil society, and government organizations shared experiences in creating shared value between business and society.
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. Working with private enterprises in more than 100 countries, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity. In FY13, our investments climbed to an all-time high of nearly $25 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit
Stay Connected