Monday, June 14, 2010

Emerging Lower Middle Class Fires Up Marketers in Brazil

RIO DE JANEIRO ( -- Much of Brazil's explosive growth is being fueled by an emerging lower middle class that has grown to 95.4 million people. As they snap up cars, cellphones and new homes, this group is quickly becoming a prime target for marketers.

The group, called the Clase C, earns between $600 and $2,600 a month and, through upward mobility in a growing economy, has become Brazil's largest consumer group in a population of 192 million people. (Clase A and B are Brazil's elite and upper middle class, while the D and E classes are on the lowest rungs of the economy.)

Nova America, a thriving but not upscale shopping mall in Rio de Janeiro, gets about 50% of its sales from the Clase C. Carlos Martins, the mall's superintendent, said sales have been growing by about 15% a year, and the mall is adding new stores and corporate offices this year. About 50,000 people a day pass through the mall, spending an average of $80 per person and buying cellphones, consumer electronics and even cars and houses.

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