Retail sector trends that are influencing consumer behaviour

Retail sector trends that are influencing consumer behaviour

Retail - Workplace August 2019

Smarter solutions

A recent report by leading US consumer behavioural insights firm Canvas8 says we can look forward to consumers embracing reality rather than trying to escape it where retail behaviour is concerned.

Consumers, it says, will be seeking to find balance in a world that is increasingly confusing and challenging, and retailers and brands will need to tune-in to these ideological shifts.

Gender- and age-inclusive beauty and fashion market

In this age of diversity, consumers are being presented with choice – so much choice.

Lady Gaga has officially launched her own gender-neutral beauty and makeup empire via Amazon with the goal of creating a "supportive, empowering and inclusive community".

Meanwhile, Chanel has introduced a men’s makeup line, and elsewhere, retired football star David Beckham was featured on the cover of British style magazine Love – complete with teal eyeshadow.

Fashion brands are also starting to think outside the binary gender box and going beyond the term unisex – driving change and also reflecting societal leanings.

Responsible consumerism goes mainstream

Banishing single-use plastic bags is just the tip of the social sustainability iceberg.

Consumers are actively seeking out brands that help them make more responsible choices.

Stalwarts like Nike are reinforcing the sustainability message, ethical fashion is becoming big business and natural chemical-free products are being rolled out across the board from startups to established corporate heavyweights.

Climate change and its ramifications means retailers are being challenged to help put the consumer goods industry on a more environmentally-sustainable path.

Food glorious food

Consumers are being bombarded with messages about what to eat, when to eat, and being challenged about the societal implications of their choices.

With pressure on medical resources and a cash-strapped health sector, “food as medicine” is a growing trend.

Plant-based food choices are being championed across the consumer spectrum from the fast food giants to the local supermarket.

Eating locally-produced food, and knowing what is in the food they’re eating – is going to call the shots in the food retailing sector for the foreseeable future as evidenced by the rise in the farmers’ markets movement.

Meanwhile, the app-based home-delivered food market is escalating.


In an increasingly complicated, uncertain and sometimes threatening world, the trend for cocooning at home is growing.

Technology is allowing for integrated solutions for home safety and comfort, and when the world seems to be going mad, home is where the heart is increasingly headed.

Within that concept is the idea of consumers cocooning within an online world through their mobile phones.

The next-gen HENRYs

The Canvas8 report talks about the forthcoming convergence of luxury lifestyle aspirations with the generation of HENRYs (high-earners-not-rich-yet).

This is the millennial generation who will start to hit their stride in terms of career and income in this full-employment economy.

They’ll be well-connected, well-resourced and discerning, looking for luxury brands that match their personal value sets.

Physical and digital retailing meet up

“Phygital retail” is the term that retail consultant Bob Phibbs uses to describe the need to combine in-store experiences with digital convenience.

To remain relevant and competitive, retailers will need to ensure that the consumer model they offer is experiential rather than merely transactional to meet shoppers’ needs.

There’s an entertainment/experience component to acquiring possessions and while physical retailers continue to head online with their offerings, digital-only models are now seeking out complementary bricks-and-mortar premises.

Be real

Authenticity and the human touch/connection will become even more important for physical retailers as the digital world tries to ensnare shoppers – and even online merchants will need to hone their people skills.

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