Is There “a Fortune to Be Made” in Selling to the Poor?

(p. B1) For years, multinational companies had little interest in lower-end consumers, figuring no money was to be made. Now, they are increasingly attractive to all types of industries, from consumer product makers to technology businesses. Google just announced plans to sell a stripped-down, cheaper version of its Android phone in India.
A decade ago, C. K. Prahalad, a University of Michigan business professor, in his book “The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid,” detailed the potential, contending that such households were every bit as discriminating and aspirational as their counterparts at the other end of the income spectrum.
Mr. Prahalad, now dead, estimated there were four billion such consumers in a market worth $13 trillion. “People were saying, ‘There’s a fortune to be made. Let’s go,’ ” said Mark B. Milstein, director of the Cen-(p. B6)ter for Sustainable Global Enterprise at Cornell University.
But many of the first efforts failed. “There was not much thinking about what those consumers needed or wanted or how they might be different from consumers with more disposable income,” Mr. Milstein said.

For the full story, see:
STEPHANIE STROM. “Billions of Buyers.” The New York Times (Thurs., Sept. 18, 2014): B1 & B6.
(Note: the online version of the story has the date SEPT. 17, 2014, and has the title “Multinational Companies Court Lower-Income Consumers.”)

The book highlighted in the passage quoted is:
Prahalad, C. K. Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid Eradicating Poverty through Profits. Revised ed. Philadelphia, PA: Wharton School Publishing, 2009.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.