2021 Retail Trends to Watch

Last year, we observed cultural, consumer and industry trends that were already in development accelerate at warp speed due to major events that took place during 2020 – a global pandemic, political upheaval and divide in the U.S., and the continued effects of climate change – to name a few.

Now a couple weeks into 2021, many of these factors will continue to shape human behavior. Below are three of the biggest innovation opportunities for retailers to consider and plan around as the behaviors that became “normal” in 2020 continue to anchor themselves among shoppers.

(1) Conscious consumers, or “Mindsumers,” are the new shoppers. Choosing brands that align with personal values is no longer a behavior exclusive to Gen Z and Millennials. 77% of consumers feel more positively about brands making an effort to support society and believe brands should support their local communities. Shoppers will continue to support local and minority-owned businesses. Retailers that authentically elevate or partner with them will win shopper consideration. Additionally, businesses with sustainable practices will continue to be a requirement and have key decision-making influence.

(2) Physical retail is slated for a comeback. The U.S. is currently undergoing a similar situation that led to the roaring ’20s. Coming out of WWI and a global flu pandemic, the economy not only recovered but grew significantly. After living through dark times, people want to have tangible experiences, signaling the importance that physical and experiential retail will have once people are able to safely shop in person again.

(3) Tech innovation has always seen steady development in retail, but the need is stronger than ever before. We’ll see retailers making huge advances in building seamless omnichannel shopping, utilizing AI and robots to deliver safe and incredibly personalized experiences. As always, observing shopping behaviors overseas, especially in China, will point to shopping behaviors and expectations such as livestream shopping rooted in social and mobile.

Contributed by: Julienne Lin, Associate Director of Research & Strategy, Integer Los Angeles

Image Souce: Unsplash