2018 retail, wholesale and distribution industry trends outlook
Healthy growth is on the horizon
Reports of retailing’s demise were a bit premature: the industry is alive and kicking, with plenty of healthy growth on the horizon.
Today’s retail trends are driven by the anticipation that consumers will spend confidently throughout 2018. Market growth is projected to reach a healthy 3.2% to 3.8%, with heated competition among store formats, channels, and players expected to continue. Consumers are enjoying an ever-increasing proliferation of choices—larger established brands reforming with both online and in-store operations; and newer online or application-based only entrants are emerging. Not surprisingly, consumers continue to hold elevated expectations for their shopping experience.
Key trends of the 2018 retail, wholesale and distribution industry trends outlook
- Recalibrating retail business strategies. For many retailers, the workforce will serve an increasingly important dual in-store and online role. However, retailers should realize that in order to realize profitable growth in today’s highly competitive blended environment—where digital has the potential not only to influence, but also to capture market share—they would do well to contemplate a renewed strategy.
- Rosy economic outlook. The economy is likely to continue to grow at a moderate 2.0%-2.5% rate in 2018. A key source of strength is consumers, who have benefitted from a strong labor market and rising incomes—and who are the linchpin to the strong near- and long-term retail industry outlook.
- Deconstruction leads to reconstruction. Many business headlines continue to declare reports of a “retail apocalypse,” “retail meltdown,” and numerous store closures. But the business reality shaping the retail industry outlook is quite different. Consumer spending is increasing and shifting among a range of formats and channels for differing reasons—an indication that the retail sector is evolving again.
- Building customer affinity, online and in-store. Today’s retail industry outlook reflects that consumer shopping preferences and behaviors are not static; they change according to age, income, seasonality, and other demographic or retail trends.
- Where to invest? Strategy and operational excellence. The retail industry outlook projects that emerging technologies—social commerce, facial recognition for ecommerce point of sale, virtual reality, IoT—promise to transform the customer retail experience like never before.