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2022 retail industry outlook

Identifying opportunities for the great retail reset

While retail has had its share of challenges in the past two years, the pandemic has also yielded the chance for a long-overdue great retail reset that may help move many retailers into a more stable—and profitable—position. Getting there will require balancing near-term challenges with long-term commitments and transformational thinking.

A preview of opportunities in retail industry

For nearly two years, predictions about the future of retail have seemed dire, and retail headlines for 2022 don’t look much better: empty store shelves, over one million retail jobs unfilled1, and surging inflation. But these headwinds have also yielded some positive results—retailers have been forced to reexamine their legacy systems and strategies that have shaped the industry for years.

For 2022, retailers should continue down the remediation path they began at the onset of the pandemic to realize long-term and lasting benefits. In fact, the next 12 months offer opportunities to restructure outmoded supply chains, rightsize inventory management, review pricing, recalibrate promotional cadences, and reinvent the physical store for the digital age. This will likely require entirely new ways of thinking and long-term commitments from retailers, but these efforts could forever shift the way retailers conduct business. That future begins today, by addressing near-term retail challenges with an eye to the future.

2022 retail industry outlook

Three retail industry trends and priorities

For our 2022 retail industry analysis, we asked 50 senior retail executives across multiple subsectors to share their views on where they see the industry in the next 12 months. The resulting data, combined with insights derived from 15 Deloitte retail subject-matter specialists, client work, and prior research, offers a snapshot of strategies and investment plans that help inform the future of the industry.

Embracing the great retail reset

Retailers face significant challenges that will likely last beyond the pandemic, but there are also unexpected opportunities that can help them prepare for future disruptions. Retailers must figure out how to reset—as employers, at meeting consumer needs, and by being better corporate citizens—to compete in the next era of retail. Retailers should embrace the current disruption and commit to pivot toward the future. Download our full 2022 retail industry outlook to learn more.

1 Abha Bhattarai, “Macy’s offers corporate workers a ‘valuable opportunity’: In-store shifts,” Washington Post, November 17, 2021.

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