Retail Trends 2022

Beyond Retail
Retail Trends 2022

At the start of 2022, many retailers were [cautiously] optimistic about their ability to move past the challenges they had faced in the previous two years. As retailers began to look past COVID, there was a sense that technology, innovation and new business models would allow the industry to capitalise on emerging consumer behaviour and take a big step forward to defining what the future shopping experience will look like.

However, a series of unprecedented headwinds have combined to make the market more challenging than ever for retailers and their suppliers: the price and scarcity of fuel and raw materials has driven up the cost of doing business, the world faces a cost-of-living crisis with rapid inflation putting a dent on the ability of the consumer to spend and the Russian Military invasion of Ukraine has impacted supply chains and forced businesses to cease operations in the region. On top of this, COVID-19 still remains a concern as long as new variants are emerging and parts of the world remain unvaccinated and the supply issues of 2021 – especially those caused by the semi-conductor shortage – aren’t completely behind us.

Despite the challenges facing the sector, the future is still exciting. New technologies are paving the way for a more immersive online experience, new consumer behaviour is driving both product and business model innovation, and the world’s biggest brands are putting aside local competitive pressures to tackle the biggest issues facing our society and planet. The retail industry has always been resilient to the harshest of challenges and we have little doubt that businesses can emerge stronger

Here are six major trends for retailers to look out for throughout the rest of the year:

Generation Z starts to splash the cash

Generation Z as consumers


Attracting Gen Z becomes more important as they become both customers and employees. The generation born between 1995 and 2010 has now joined the workforce. Not only do they have their own spending power and are no longer reliant on parents, they also have strong and distinctive wants and needs that retailers and brands need to provide for.

The retail empire strikes back

Retail in a digital world


The online and digital retail world is no longer the sole preserve of the agile startup or online pureplay business. We have begun to see the major established retail businesses fight back by embracing digital themselves. The modern retailer’s journey into digital sees them adapting their core, exploring digital products and experiences, and exploring the metaverse​.

Shop and Go Go Go…

Convenience scales up


With consumers demanding a frictionless and often contactless retail experience, checkout-free stores, ultra-fast and autonomous delivery are rapidly becoming mainstream. ​

Tales of the unexpected

Retailers diversify their businesses


Conscious consumerism and a challenging market is encouraging retailers to diversify and move into completely new businesses to utilise their assets better and find new sources of growth.

Virtuous circles

Circularity and traceability in demand


Circularity is on a fantastic growth trajectory with the second-hand clothing sector expected to grow faster than fast fashion. Meanwhile consumer attitudes towards sustainability means that traceability is a critical capability required to deliver on climate promises​ and achieve science-based targets to reduce emissions.

1+1=3

Collaborate with meaning


Through progressive and distinctive collaboration retailers can achieve something greater than the sum of its parts. In the year ahead, retailers and brands will collaborate to create brand distinctiveness and to tackle the biggest issues in society, such as climate change.

Priorities for retailers in the year ahead

Explore how you can drive social commerce and attract the Gen Z customer
Make use of your existing assets and brand strength for new high margin opportunities
Fight inflation and cost pressure by maintaining a lazer focus on all operating costs and scaling automation across the organisation
Consider circularity in the context of your business and how it can drive greater customer engagement before, during and end of product life
Experiment with the metaverse to learn how it can enhance the customer experience and add value to your business
Work with industry peers to co create transformative solutions to address major societal issues such as climate change
Engage at all levels to build an inclusive workforce strategy and develop more rewarding jobs

Find out more

Talk to a member of our team

Contact us

Key contacts

Ian Geddes

Managing Partner for Consumer and Retail across North and South Europe

Oliver Vernon-Harcourt

UK Retail Lead Partner

Dr. Bryn Walton

Consumer Insights Manager

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