World Resources Institute (WRI), creator of the Next Billion “development through enterprise” blog, has just published a new book called The Next 4 Billion: Market Size and Business Strategy at the Base of the Pyramid. The authors use household survey data to measure the empirical size and scope of bottom-of-pyramid market.
In a recent post, WRI senior VP Al Hammond notes the remarkable success of cellphone companies in cracking the “BOP code,” and notes several of the key themes of You Can Hear Me Now. He attributes the success, unmatched in any other sector, to extraordinary “push” using “sachet marketing,” i.e. selling text and voice combos in small prepaid increments. He also notes the way local cellphone companies have leveraged local entrepreneurs to create deep distribution into rural areas.
At the same time, he notes the “pull” of ICT–”the insatiable demand for ICT services even for very poor people.”Â Â This, of course, is what has surprised so many development and industry experts. Hammond notes that in virtually every country, the share of spending on ICT rises exponentially as income rises. In fact, the percentage of income spent on ICT is higher than that spent on food, housing or transportation.
Remarkable–it reminds me of the Bangladeshi lady who referred to the cellphone as “magical as Aladdin’s lamp.”