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The growing economic importance of the Roma

February 20th, 2015

A conservative Roma pundit predicts that Hungary’s Roma will soon become a key economic force. He believes that targeting Roma consumers may open up new lucrative business opportunities in several sectors.

In Hungary and Central Eastern Europe, the Roma will become key to economic growth and development, István Forgács writes on Mandiner. The conservative Roma activist points out that due to demographic changes, the growing Roma population will become an increasingly important market segment. Forgács calculates that as many as 20 per cent of all babies born today in Hungary are Roma. That means that in just over a decade one fifth of young Hungarians – a major target group for businesses – will be Roma. So far, business actors have not considered the socially excluded Roma as an important consumer group, but in order to maintain their market share, they will have to design products and services which target the Roma, many of whom live in poverty. As specific examples, Forgács mentions that Roma living in poor rural areas often do not have bank accounts or insurance. He calls on stakeholders in the finance, insurance and telecommunication sectors to consider focusing on Roma customers – “those who start first will have an early advantage in this multi-billion Forint market,” he suggests.

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