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Laboratories of Innovation

Leveraging emerging markets for commercial success


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Emerging markets are becoming the catalysts for new product and service innovation. Long-term success, however, will take far more than simply making minor adjustments to existing products, lowering prices, and developing new sales channels, according to a new report, Laboratories of Innovation: Leveraging emerging markets for commercial success . Successful companies are looking beyond traditional strategies to meet the needs of markets with significantly lower per capita GDP.

Companies will need to acquire a new set of competencies and organizational structures to generate a continuing stream of innovative products tailored to the needs of consumers and industrial buyers in emerging markets. They will also need to take advantage of their parent company’s governance, business processes, and management expertise to offer these products at dramatically lower prices that match the lower purchasing power of most buyers in emerging markets.

Growth strategies in emerging markets

Products sold in emerging markets often the same as at home

How products sold by company in emerging markets compare to products sold in home market
Source: One or more member firms of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

The new Deloitte report identifies five strategic initiatives that companies must deploy to grow profitably in emerging markets. Successful companies need to:

  1. Develop tailored product offerings for the local market at cost structures, price points and business models that match GDP per capita economics.
  2. Build local R&D capabilities in emerging markets and connect with local commercial managers.
  3. Leverage global value chain competencies to maintain margins and effectively manage costs.
  4. Acquire deeper customer knowledge and localize marketing strategies to reach customers and capture market share.
  5. Win the war for talent by tailoring strategies that effectively deploy, develop and connect people.

Statistical indicators

Other key findings included in the report:

  • Executives are bullish about the growth outlook in emerging markets. Nearly 60% of the executives surveyed expect their company’s revenues in emerging markets to grow substantially over the next three years, compared to just over 20% who were as optimistic about prospects in developed markets.
  • Half or more of the executives surveyed said their products were very similar to those sold in their home market.
  • For companies who did varying product offerings, they were more likely to vary pricing and discounts rather than offering fundamentally different product models or features.
  • Among executives headquartered in developed markets, over 42% had lower gross margins in emerging markets, 34% had roughly equal margins and only 24% enjoyed higher margins.
  • Of the companies who did capture higher margins, nearly three-quarters provided product offerings (e.g., features, models and pricing) that were either very different or somewhat different than their home markets.
  • 40% of the companies selling new products in emerging markets said R&D was done locally, citing “need to understand local market,” “lower R&D costs,” and “faster time to market” as the top three reasons for investing in local R&D facilities.

About the research

Laboratories of Innovation (brochure cover)

The research by Deloitte into the topic of Innovation in Emerging Markets examines what is required for global manufacturers to realize the enormous market potential of the developing economies of Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. Key markets examined include: China, India, South Korea, Russia, Poland, Czech Republic, Argentina, Mexico and Brazil.

It includes a global online survey that has been completed so far by nearly 300 executives, in-depth case studies, and the extensive experience of Deloitte member firms in advising major manufacturers operating in emerging markets. An executive summary report, Laboratories of Innovation: Leveraging Emerging Markets for Commercial Success, highlights the preliminary findings of the research.

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