6 retail trends to expect in 2021

It’s been almost a year since the great toilet paper shortage of 2020 result of panicked consumers fortify their homes in response to the uncertainty of a global pandemic. Subsequently, we saw store closures and bankruptcies, as well as innovations like street pickup and contactless payments as the retail industry struggled – and then pivoted – to serve customers. who suddenly had very different needs.

At CES on Tuesday, Deborah Weinswig, CEO of Coresight Research, a retail and tech-focused research and advisory firm, detailed what she believes are the biggest trends that will shape retail in 2021. Her list follows – you might notice a few familiar themes:

Spending will change

Weinswig noted that consumer spending will change again once shoppers have better access to physical stores and can once again visit places like bars and restaurants with their friends and family. This follows a shift in spending in 2020 as consumers adjust to life in lockdown, increased demand for products like bicycles.

“In terms of real dollars, you’ve seen the biggest change in health care, health and wellness,” she added. “It’s about everything from intravenous infusions to CBD, to everything to do with outdoor sports life and how consumers can stay healthy.”

The evolving shopping center

Noting that she “never expected” to see this, Weinswig also pointed to the changes in the store and mall landscape resulting from both technology and tenant mixes, as well as a shift in the landlord-tenant relationship.

“We see… owners supporting tenants, helping them to open dark stores to showcase products [or helping] with curbside pick-up and BOPIS or [having] special designated parking spaces… to really move things around the centers, ”she said. “We’re even starting to see this thing we invented last year called BOPIM, buy online at a mall, [which] was also quite successful.

Digital first

Weinswig predicts that digitally-focused retail strategies will continue to be the key to success in 2021, especially with the emergence of new technologies.

“Some of the data that I found really the most impressive was around when Walmart reported its third quarter results and the majority of its revenue in the United States. [comparable store sales] was digital first – so the consumer started online, maybe they did transactions or that sale ended up offline, ”she said. “But we’ve seen a lot of new consumers, young and old, become a lot more comfortable shopping digitally and that has really changed the landscape.”

There is more good to come

Another trend in 2020 that is expected to continue is the practice of doing good for the common good, which is fueling better business results. This includes efforts focused on sustainability and inclusiveness – like extended sizes, gender fluidity, and multicultural elements.

“[Inclusivity is] also ideal for retail as it is a very… nascent market with significant opportunities, ”she said. “There is so much here to unbox, but it’s great for retail and the more retailers can have a take on how they are serving this customer once again, we think that will be enough. important in terms of sales [in 2021]. “

Mobile commerce

As retailers look for new, frictionless ways to deal with their customers, American consumers will start to see more QR codes and what Weinswig has called “super apps.”

“We’re starting to see a lot of this technology appear here in the United States,” she added. “And this idea of ​​fluidity in all aspects of retailing is really in my opinion the driving force behind a lot of what we’ve seen in 2020. And as new technologies are introduced, we will. will see more. [in 2021]. “

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