Retail 2020: Five Forces in Global Retail

(Excerpt from article “Retail 2020:  Five Forces, 10 Trends in Global Retail” by Coresight Research – Jan. 21, 2020)

These are Coresight Research’s five forces for global retail in 2020:

Retail Setting

1. “Alt. Retail” models

Alternative retail models such as rental, resale and service-driven formats are moving retail beyond its traditional focus of selling (new) products. Collectively, we term these “alt. retail.” In 2020, we expect these models not only to expand their reach to more consumers, but also to mature. 

2. Inclusivity Moves from Marketing to Product

Brands’ and retailers’ pursuit of greater inclusivity is no longer about just marketing: we’ll see it will manifest in product offerings in 2020. We see this playing out in both luxury and the mass market.  Luxury is transforming from a culture of exclusivity and uniqueness to one of inclusivity, transparency and egalitarianism.  We are seeing this play out not only in marketing but in the types of products being launched by luxury houses. Social values expressed through luxury products now include gender equality, size inclusion, design diversity and selection of ambassadors—although the exclusivity associated with a high price remains.  In 2020, more mass-market brands and retailers will see inclusion not as a marketing add-on, but as shaping the product offering. We envisage growth in niche and tailored segments within apparel and beauty.  Adaptive apparel—clothing and footwear designed for those with disabilities—is one such opportunity.

3. Western Retailers Nudge Closer to China’s Retail Models

China leads the world in digitalized retailing, in Alibaba’s “New Retail” model and beyond. Tencent’s WeChat app provides an all-in-one engagement and commerce tool while Alibaba makes online retailing spectacular through its Singles’ Day event. We see these trends and other elements of “New Retail” permeating the West.

4. Supply-Side Technologies Will Make Retail Even Faster

New and emerging technology (or new and emerging applications of existing technology) will enable retailers to move faster and operate leaner. These are two trends we expect to see in this space.  

5. Sustainability Concerns Will Prompt Incremental Reshaping of Consumer and Retailer Activity

We have seen sustainability grow in significance for a few years: it is a slow-burning trend that is incrementally impacting retail. In 2020, we expect awareness of sustainability—by companies and consumers—to continue to impact retail.

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Retail 2020: Five Forces, 10 Trends in Global Retail