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The Jakarta City Elites
10 April 2019

As the country with the most rapid economic development in ASEAN, with the average 6% per annum over the last decade, the consumer market in Indonesia is predicted to become one of the most promising targets for marketing companies. In the last two decades, there has been a massive reduction of Indonesia’s poverty rate with one in every five Indonesians now belongs to the middle-class group. World Bank Country Director for Indonesia, Rodrigo A. Chaves, believed that “the middle class holds the key to unlocking the potential of Indonesia…. the middle-class group will grow quickly and push this country and region towards a brighter future” (2017). Furthermore, a recent survey from Boston Consulting Group found out that there was an emergence of a new category of consumers in Indonesia who regularly spend more than Rp5,000,000 or above per month. These consumers are what we called Mass Affluent Consumers or City Elites.




Aparna Bharadwaj in his article Beyond the “Crazy Rich” (2018) described City Elites as young professionals, most of them are under the age of 40, who are digitally savvy and less brand-oriented. With the consideration that 71% of the population in Jakarta is in productive ages, it is then believed that the affluent consumers tend to live in urban centers. “There are currently about 74 million City Elites in Indonesia, and this number will double to roughly 141 million people by 2020” (Rastogi, 2013). In Indonesia, the number of City Elites is expected to contribute 21% of the country’s total population by 2030. Now, City Elites control 31% of household wealth in Indonesia to which it is predicted to increase to 46% by 2030 (BCG Analysis, 2018). Unlike the middle-class consumers who mostly purchase indulgence products, the affluent consumers spend their money on liquor, restaurants, and travels. City Elites have the money to spend on luxurious brands, but choose not to, as most of the times, they prefer experience over extravagance.




Consumer foodservice and travel are two of the fastest growing marketing categories to which 18% goes to foodservice and 14% goes to travel, especially in Jakarta. The role of cashless payment method is one of the most important factors in helping Jakarta City Elites to spend money. Based on the Euromonitor International Digital Consumer Data that is published in Umali’s article (2018), 75% of online food purchases have been made through smartphones, as Indonesia is known as the third-largest smartphone market in the Asia-Pacific region, behind only China and India. Chan, via HKTDC Research in 2017, predicted the number of smartphone users will increase from 55 million in 2015 to 92 million by 2019. The rising access of smartphones has given strong support to the blossoming of business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce and the relevant supporting services.




Based on the knowledge and predictions, it is important for brands or companies to create strategies to attract City Elites in the immediate future. As stated in the previous paragraph, City Elites don’t purchase luxury brands just for the sake of lifestyle. “These sentiments suggest that the affluent want a luxury lifestyle—but one that they define themselves” (Bharadwaj, 2018). Brands should consider exclusivity by offering limited-edition products, or something that is unique and distinctive, holding special events for loyal consumers, and provides a narrative or background story that could elicit curiosity and interest among consumers. Providing information booth at airports or train stations is also a great way for companies to be noticed by targeting travellers. Aside from that, one thing that Boston Consulting Group emphasized is the fact that “brands should also promote social inclusion and contribute to economic development by using sustainable locally sourced materials while also supporting social projects in each country” (Yuniarni, 2018).





Bharadwaj, A. (November 20, 2018). Beyond the “Crazy Rich”: The Mass Affluent of Southeast Asia. Boston Consulting Group. Retrieved from

Chan, L. (February 15, 2017). ASEAN in Focus: The Indonesian Consumer Market. HKTDC Research. Retrieved from ASEAN-in-Focus-The-Indonesian-Consumer-Market

Rastogi, V. (March 5, 2013). Indonesia’s Rising Middle-Class and Affluent Consumers: Asia’s Next Big Opportunity. Boston Consulting Group. Retrieved from https://www.

The World Bank. (December 4, 2017). Indonesia’s Middle-Class Vital for the Country’s Future. Retrieved from indonesia-middle-class-vital-for-the-country-future

Umali, T. (November 6, 2018). How Digital Tech Influences Indonesian Consumerism. OpenGov Asia. Retrieved from

Yuniarni, S. (November 21, 2018). Mass Affluent Consumers Set to Become Southeast Asia’s New Growth Engine: BCG. Jakarta Globe. Retrieved from context/mass-affluent-consumers-set-to-become-southeast-asias-new-growth-engine-bcg