Pakistan Auto Industry Posts Huge Sales Gains
Earlier, Economic Survey of Pakistan 2010-2011 reported that the first 9 months of fiscal 2010-2011 saw production of television sets jump 28.6% and automobile production increase by 14.6%. From July 2010 to March 2011, production of cars, light commercial vehicles and two and three wheelers grew by 16.4%, 20.5% and 12.6% respectively. These figures confirm the return of Pakistanis' appetite for consumer durables after a significant drop from 2007-2008 to 2008-2009.
In a separate news story carried by Bloomberg, Swiss food giant Nestle's Pakistan subsidiary said its sales of consumer packaged goods rose 25% year-over-year. Engro Foods, a local Pakistani competitor of Nestle, reported its sales climbed 46 percent to 7 billion rupees in the last quarter.
Rising sales of consumer durables like cars and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) represent a clear sign of the return of the middle class consumers who had pulled back since 2008. This improvement has been been aided by rising incomes in the rural areas stimulated by higher food and commodity prices. Fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) – or Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) – are products that are sold quickly and at relatively low cost. Examples include non-durable goods such as milk, juices, sodas, toiletries, and packaged grocery items.
Nestle Pakistan's chief Ian Donald summed up the rising demand for his company's products as follows: “It’s a common perception that China and India are much bigger in terms of growth than Pakistan. But for Nestle, the per capita consumption of our products in Pakistan is twice as much as we have in China and India.” It should be noted that Nestle is the world's largest packaged food company.
Over the last two decades, Pakistan has continued to offer much greater upward economic and social mobility to its citizens than neighboring India. Since 1990, Pakistan's middle class had expanded by 36.5% and India's by only 12.8%, according to an ADB report on Asia's rising middle class released in 2010.
The ADB report on Asia's rising middle class confirms that Pakistan's middle class has grown to 40% of the population, significantly larger than the Indian middle class of about 25% of its population, and it has been growing faster than India's middle class.
Coming on the eve of Pakistan's Independence Day this Aug 14, the news of rising sales of cars and other consumer products could lead to more hiring and help revive Pakistan's economy which has been stagnant since 2008.
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