The changing face of the Brazilian middle class brings new challenges to domestic and foreign investment in Brazil. Once content with cheap promotions, this social class is now more discerning and looking for quality.
This search for better products affects consumer goods across the board. From laptops to real estate, Brazilian middle class (known as Class C) is going for quality over price. Until now, they were content with cheap offers, but with higher wages and more widely-available credit, Class C Brazilians prefer quality and well-established brand names.
A recent conference hosted by Grupo Doria in Sao Paulo addressed the challenges facing Brazilian investment firms as they seek to meet this change in middle class consumers. The high number of participants at the conference demonstrates the huge interest in catering for these customers.
Brazil is home to one of the world's fastest growing middle classes. Between 2003 and 2010, some 32 million Brazilians moved out of poverty into Class C, becoming new middle class citizens. Statistics quoted in the business weekly, Istoe Dinheiro, claim 35 million more are poised to join them by 2014.
This growth will bring this social class to 140 million in just three years time. In tandem with this increase come huge opportunities for investment in Brazil in virtually all business sectors. To make the most of these investment opportunities, Brazilian and foreign companies need to understand this new consumer class.
In an attempt to match middle class demands, Brazilian companies are indeed adapting their marketing strategies. Changes are apparent in a range of industries – from online commerce to air travel and from cars to white goods.
For example, the Brazilian airline TAM, historically more orientated towards business executives, is now targeting the new middle class. Not only are TAM plane tickets cheaper but they are on sale in more outlets including universities and stores. Company representatives claim sales have soared with Class C clients among the biggest buyers.