4 Retail Trends That Will Stick Around in 2020…and Beyond

If something is trending, it usually means it’s popular for a bit, but quickly loses steam and public interest. But that’s not always the case. Within retail, “trends” often turn into the new normal. For example, when the organic wave hit store in the 2000’s, it never receded–organic is still a huge, and growing, part of grocery business.

As the new year approaches, here are four retail trends that are still growing, and will remain big in 2020 and into the next decade.

Sustainability

The environment was a huge topic of conversation and debate this year. As a result, many brands and retailers have been taking strides to promote sustainable products and practices. According to a recent holiday shopping survey by Accenture, 45% of respondents are more likely to shop with retailers that address social issues through their business practices and working conditions. It’s even starting to have impact on delivery–Accenture managing director Lori Zumwinkle pointed out that many consumers are starting to choose the more sustainable in-store pick up option, instead of having items delivered to their doors.

Grocerants

When forward-thinking grocery stores began offering made-to-order restaurant options and food halls, the idea was revolutionary. Now, it’s a trend that continues to gain steam as more and more consumers seek easy, prepared meals, and stores are looking for ways to lure in new generations of shoppers. According to the Food Marketing Institute, food service sales at grocery stores are growing at about 8% a year.

As InContext’s Diana Sheehan told CNN Business, “restaurants have become one of the most successful ways for retailers to stand apart.” Kroger just opened it’s first in-store food hall in downtown Cincinnati this year, and we expect to continue to see more and more of these popping up in retailers around the country, and the world in 2020.

Private label

Private label is on the rise. In fact, right now it’s growing four times faster than national brands, according to a report from Coresight Research. The challenge will be for retailers to remain distinctive, and differentiate from national brands when it comes to private label offerings, according to a Shelby Report Q&A with S4RB’s Steven Howell.

As This will include better-for-you and free-from items, sustainable products, and foods that help boost enjoyment.

VR/AR

While shopping in virtual reality may still be quite a ways off (VR headsets are not yet ubiquitous, and the process needs work) we have been seeing a steady rise in both virtual and augmented reality technologies that are creating more efficiency behind the retail scenes, and a better shopper experience for consumers.

Virtual simulations continue to provide cost-effective and insightful solutions for retailers and brands, including employee training programs and in-store planning platforms.

Augmented reality is also set to grow in the next decade, as brands and consumers can leverage the technology to provide a more immersive and visual experience. AR allows field sales teams to show their retail partners what a new display could look like in the store, and it can help consumers shopping online what a piece of furniture might look like in their homes. We don’t see VR or AR losing steam anytime soon.

2020 is certain to be an exciting time for retail, as stores and brands continue to evolve with the ever-changing space.

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