Retail Trends 2022: The dilemma of being a Consumer and a Citizen | Deloitte Netherlands


Retail Trends 2022: The dilemma of being a Consumer and a Citizen

Finding the balance between Convenience and Consciousness

While the consumer in us craves for more convenience, the citizen in us is becoming more conscious and conscientious about the impact of all that convenience on our society and our environment. What does this dilemma mean for the world of retail, and what can we learn from retailers who have turned this challenge into an opportunity? Welcome to the Retail trends 2022.

C for Convenience

More than ever before, convenience is key when it comes to serving the consumer. Fueled by technological developments, consumer expectations have risen to levels that were inconceivable a decade ago, and retailers are meeting them. New concepts around the consumer journey are conquering the industry, from “endless aisle”, “checkout-free stores” and “click and collect” to “ship from store” and even “from store to door in under ten minutes”. No bag of crisps in the supply closet? Don’t worry, an ultra-fast delivery service is already on its way to your home. Soon, robots and drones will be delivering our groceries. It’s all “shop and go go go”.

or C for Consciousness?

As always, there’s a downside. With every euro we spend on an online platform, we’re not supporting our local retailers – and through them, our local government that needs local tax revenues to improve our towns and neighbourhoods. So while the consumer in us craves for more and more convenience (preferably at a convenient price), the citizen in us is becoming more conscious and conscientious about the impact of all that convenience on our society and our environment. Not to mention our health.


While the consumer in us craves for more convenience, the citizen in us is becoming more conscious about the impact on our society and environment. Retailers need to find the sweet spot between convenience and consciousness.


Adgild Hop – Retail Market Lead

The Conscious Consumer

Recently, we commissioned a consumer survey about health and sustainability in grocery shopping. It was conducted in 15 European countries, across more than 17,000 consumers. What we found, is that an average of 60% of respondents would choose health over affordability. When it comes to sustainability, more than 70% claims to be willing to accept a price that is 5% higher or more for foods that are sustainably sourced. When asked what role grocers should play, over 53% would like to see them stepping up their role in educating consumers. Now of course, this is about price, not convenience. And yes, respondents with higher incomes and to some extent, a higher education level, are in a more comfortable position to choose sustainability over affordability. But still, there appears to be a shift to consciousness within the middle class majority as well. So it’s definitely a trend that deserves our attention.

Retail trends for 2022

This duality between convenience and consciousness, and consumer and citizen, is not limited to groceries – it’s happening all over the retail industry. Which is probably why it is reflected in the retail trends for 2022. For instance, a number of trends fit the consciousness theme well. One of them is ‘Virtuous circles’, which is about circularity as a growth opportunity. The resale clothing market is currently growing 11 times faster than traditional retail, and the sector will likely be worth € 484 bln by 2030, which is more than double the size of fast fashion. Some brands are already launching dedicated circular stores for cleaning, repairing and customising their products. Others are introducing “circularity by design”, reserving vending machines, and re-boxing (which, according to some, is “the new unboxing”).

Another trend within the consciousness theme is ‘1+1+3’, which is all about being purposeful and inclusive, and about meaningful cross-industry collaboration to tackle climate issues, poverty and illiteracy. ‘Tales of the unexpected’ explains how conscious consumerism and a challenging market are forcing retailers to look at diversification. One tale is about a furniture brand that is investing in developing hydrogen fuel, and another is about a retailer that is planning to build 10,000 homes. In a way, the trend about ‘Generation Z starts to splash the cash’ is also related to this theme, as Gen-Z has strong and distinctive needs when it comes to environmental and societal issues, as well as convenience and fun (e.g. “Bring your Shopify store to TikTok”, and instore experience).

Retail Trends 2022

  • Virtuous circles. Circularity and traceability in demand
  • 1+1=3. Collaborate with meaning
  • Tales of the unexpected. Retailers diversify their businesses
  • Generation Z starts to splash the cash. Generation Z as consumers
  • Shop and Go Go Go… Convenience scales up
  • The retail empire strikes back. Retail in a digital world

The retail empire strikes back

Speaking of convenience, two trends for 2022 stand out. The first one is “Shop and go go go”, which is all about checkout-free stores, fast delivery, and autonomous delivery that are going mainstream. The second trend explains how to accelerate digital adoption in the core business, and explores digital products, experiences and the metaverse. It’s called “The retail empire strikes back”. This trend entails developments such as micro fulfilment (with retailers building urban fulfilment centres in stores), stockroom integration, and rapid response to social trends, as well as growth of digital products (virtual cosmetics!), in-game retail experiences (with brands popping up in computer games), new retail business models, and cryptocurrencies. The opportunities are endless.

Finding the balance

So there’s a lot to consider for 2022 and beyond. How to balance convenience and consciousness? What does your consumer want? What can we learn from other (international) retailers who have turned current challenges into opportunities? Please find more details on the Conscious Consumer here, and tips and priorities for the year ahead in our Retail Trends 2022 publication. Don’t hesitate to contact us for an in-depth discussion.

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