Consumer goods bring countless benefits to society, dramatically improving our quality of life around the world. From hand soap that prevents diseases, and packaging that preserves our food, to the electronic devices that are transforming our economies and societies, the conveniences we take for granted today began as niche products only the wealthy could afford.
Over time, falling prices and rising incomes have made them more widely available and accessible. Through improved production methods and economies of scale that reduce costs, the penetration of consumer goods now reaches well beyond the middle class and has accelerated rapidly. In China for example, mobile phone usage has more than doubled in a decade, rising from 48 phones per 100-people to 105 phones per 100-people in 2017 (see Figure 1).