Global Cities Trends

March 2024

This briefing provides a global perspective of the key trends occurring in cities over 2018 -2023. It goes on to provide forecast data and insights for cities over 2024-2040, covering areas such as the economic, population and consumer spending changes. The briefing also lists and examines the five top trends shaping cities, namely digital and connected cities; accelerating climate action; strategic urban planning; seamless and clean mobility; and cities of the future.

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This report comes in PPT.

Key findings

Nearly two thirds of the world’s population forecast to live in cities by 2040

By 2040, 64% of the world’s population will be living in cities, with developing markets driving most of the urban demographic surge. Notably, Sub-Saharan African cities, like Luanda and Lagos, will record the strongest growth. While this demographic boom will offer business opportunities, it will also raise social and economic challenges in managing the expansion.

Urban areas will remain the key engines behind global economic growth

The top 10 cities accounted for 10% of global GDP in 2023, with New York, Tokyo, Los Angeles, London and Paris at the forefront in terms of total GDP. This highlights the immense wealth, productive capacity and economic influence concentrated in the world’s largest urban areas.

Developing cities to continue seeing a surge in middle class development

Developing cities, particularly in emerging Asia, will continue being the frontiers for economic growth, as surging disposable incomes are creating a new urban middle class. As a bigger share of consumer expenditure is devoted to discretionary spending, this will bring more opportunities for domestic and international businesses to capitalise on.

Ageing trend opens opportunities for elderly-focused businesses

Many urban areas are characterised by ageing populations, with East Asian cities expected to see a particularly strong increase in the elderly population over the forecast period. While this trend will heighten old-age dependency and strain social welfare systems, it also presents opportunities to expand product and service offerings tailored to this demographic segment.

Focus on sustainability rises, with accelerating energy transition

Cities account for most of global energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. This is driving the need for urban areas to become more progressive in their stance on tackling climate change. This includes increasing the use of renewables and energy efficient solutions, andfacilitating cleaner mobility options.

Key findings
Top trends in brief
Global cities snapshot
Areas of opportunity
World cities in 2023: Summary
Urban areas in China, Ireland and the US enjoy robust economic growth
Cities in developing Asia and Europe exhibit strongest growth in disposable incomes
High necessities spending and inequality limit discretionary outlays in sub-Saharan Africa
Cities in developing markets to house over 80% of the world’s urban population by 2040
Rapid urbanisation in African countries will strain urban infrastructure and public services
East Asian cities to experience the largest ageing shift
Pockets of growth to be found in rapidly emerging Asia and Latin America
Most affluent cities to remain concentrated in the US, despite large income gaps
Rising middle class in developing cities to drive discretionary spending opportunities
Number of USD100 billion+ consumer markets to more than double in emerging economies
Top global trends shaping cities
Digital and connected cities
Accelerating climate action
Strategic urban planning
Seamless and clean mobility
Cities of the future
GDP ranking
Disposable income ranking
Disposable income by band ranking
Consumer expenditure ranking
Population ranking


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