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Global Powers of Retailing 2017

The art and science of customers

The report

"Global Powers of Retailing 2017: The art and science of customers" is an industry report from Deloitte Global. The report identifies the 250 largest retailers around the world based on revenues through the analysis of publicly available data for fiscal year 2015 (including companies with fiscal years ending June 2016). The report analyzes performance based on geographic region, primary product sector, e-commerce activity, and other factors. It also disclosed the art and science of customers and identifies 5 major trends of retail industry.

Viewpoints / key findings

Global Powers of Retailing Top 250

For the third year in a row, revenue growth for the Top 250 apparel and accessories retailers outperformed other product sectors. Historically, this category of retailers has also been the most profitable, and fiscal year 2015 was no exception. However, retailers of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) are, by far, the largest companies (average retail revenue of nearly US$21.6 billion) as well as the most numerous (133 retailers accounting for just over half of all Top 250 companies and two-thirds of Top 250 revenue).

The level of retail globalization appears to be at the same level as the previous year. Two-thirds of Top 250 retailers operated outside their home country borders and on average, they had retail operations in more than 10 countries and derived nearly one-quarter of their composite retail revenue from foreign operations.

The art and science of customers

Global Powers of Retailing 2017 also discusses the art and science of customer engagement to help retailers design fresh experiences, enabled by the right technology, and strengthen customer loyalty. What was once considered futuristic is now table stakes. Retail innovators know technology is no longer supplemental to the shopping experience, it is fundamental. Technology alone, however, is not enough. Customers are seeking new and surprising products and experiences.

The five trends identified in the report are:

  • Less is more. Customers are defining themselves less by how many things they own and more by how curated their lives are in terms of possessions and experiences.
  • “Following” economy. Customers are seeking experiences and products that reflect the personal brand they promote on social media.
  • “Retailization” of the world. The maker movement, the sharing economy, and other factors have made it increasingly difficult to define what a retailer is and does - non-traditional retailers are developing new business models to serve customer needs, such as subscription services and flash-sales.
  • On-demand shopping and fulfilment. Relevancy will be determined by the ability of retailers to meet the on-demand mindset of the modern customer.
  • Exponential living. Exponential technologies, like artificial intelligence, robotics and virtual reality are changing how we live and how we will shop.
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