Lining up two hours or more for an ice cream is a sign of middle class buying power: Jakarta’s Magnum Cafe, set up in February 2011 to promote the re-introduction of the Magnum ice cream brand in Indonesia, is serving unbelievable crowds in a surging demand for small luxuries.

Queues for well marketed fast food are nothing new in Asia. Just look at Krispy Kreme, which saw people line up for hours to buy donuts from Bangkok to Tokyo. And Magnum has definitely been promoting itself as much more than your average chocolate ice cream, with a worldwide advertising campaign featuring fashion designers and Hollywood stars. They’re also delicious, with thick Belgian chocolate and creamy ice cream fulfilling the campaign’s promises.

The issue here, though, is Indonesians spending money on a treat that costs Rp12,000 (US$1.38) each, and more if they opt for the Magnum Cafe’s more exotic dessert items. This might not have been possible a few years ago, before Indonesia’s economy starting growing at around 6% annually. The average income is still only US$6 a day, so not everyone will be lining up. But the fact that so many are is an important sign that a growing middle class can splash out on consumer goods and luxuries, and on items far more expensive than Magnums. Marketers and brands around the world will take note of ice cream queues, and pay a lot more attention to Indonesian consumers in the near future.

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