2018 has been an extremely telling year for retail. While 51% of UK consumers prefer to shop online than in store, in-store sales saw a 2% increase within the first six months of 2018 indicating that contrary to popular belief, retail isn’t dead yet! In fact, it’s evolving.
Primarily, in Q1 of 2018, adverse weather conditions, snow and freezing temperatures posed a barrage of challenges for retailers as the low footfall rates led to supply chain disruption and consequent empty shelves. Not only were shops unable to source stock, but the stock that they had was simply not moving. Come April, retail saw an increase in spending as a result of the upcoming Royal Wedding, The World Cup and a fine British summer! More and more consumers entered shops to buy fresh produce, summer dresses and tropical shorts, amounting to 6% increase in high street sales compared to 2017 summer. Sounds surprising, doesn’t it?
Regardless of the increase in retail spending, online and e-commerce sites have certainly permeated within society, especially with millennials who admit to e-shopping eight times per month. Furthermore, the UK, Germany and America hold the top three positions respectively for the most developed e-commerce market in the world. In 2017 alone, the UK e-commerce market reached £137.38bn! Just imagine what it will be at the end of 2018!? As society becomes more complacent, expecting deliveries on our doorsteps, only having to unwrap and immediately use our products, e-commerce and on-demand services are the perfect solutions to our laziness.
To further fuel our hedonism, it seems that the future of retail is heading towards augmented reality. Following the launch of IKEA’s ‘’Place’’ App, iOS users can now easily estimate the size and location of your furniture based on your room dimensions. This saves consumers from purchasing incorrect items, dealing with unnecessary returns procedures and immediately increases brand loyalty as Ikea clearly demonstrates that their consumers are cared for. Clothes retailers too, will enjoy augmented reality as Amazon plans for augmented reality dressing rooms which allow consumers to see how they would look in an outfit by looking at the mirror and selecting their chosen clothes. Gone are the days of endless queues, baskets in hand and that annoying number tag to be returned upon trying on the clothes. Here is the future. The hassle-free experience.
Would you have predicted these trends?