2020 retail trends to watch out for
11 Jan 2020
No one could have predicted the huge changes that have totally overturned the rules of traditional retail over the past decade. We’ve watched trends emerge, evolve and shape the business climate that we recognise today. Now, having gathered insights directly from some of the world’s biggest brands, ad agencies and entrepreneurs, here’s what we believe will influence the next 10 years of retail:
Retail as activism: the outspoken will reign
As #fakenews dominates and the public’s trust in media fades, brands see an opportunity to have an impact via retail space. This year we’ve already seen Levi’s launch the first LGBTQ gallery and Patagonia open a cafe to spread the word about climate change. Next year, we predict even more rule breaking and rebellion in this age of political upheaval. During the UK election this December, several brands were open about which party they were supporting, so we think even more businesses will use retail to make a stance in 2020. However, future consumers will expect a lot more than empty tag lines, brands will need to practice what they preach - and prove it.
Tech will improve accuracy for shoppers
Early in 2019, Bloomingdales and Selfridges revealed in-store body scanners to help clients find their exact sizing, whilst L'Oréal brought AR makeup try-ons to WeChat. Similarly, IKEA launched an AR app feature that meant customers could size up furniture, checking if it would fit in their living rooms before adding to the shopping basket. It’s not just products requiring larger investments that are offering this level of precision - restaurants are next. In 2020, we predict that QReal will take over more restaurants with an AR feature that allows guests to see their meal in 3D before ordering, which offers them a good understanding of what the dish looks like. Having already partnered with Bareburger, we have a feeling this is only the beginning for the startup.
‘Split-personality branding’ will target new demographics
In 2020, brands will launch smaller, more targeted sub-brands to “attract different demographics under one umbrella,” says Hypebeast. They cite DECIEM as an example, the name behind cult beauty brand The Ordinary, which encompasses eight sub-brands in total. Looking ahead to the new decade, we believe more businesses, from food to fashion, will be branching out with new brands that won’t replace their original idea but rather complement their existing offering.
Old school industries will be reinvented
One of the most exciting movements this year was seeing entrepreneurs breathe life into stagnant, traditional industries. In New York, Pop-Up Grocers reinvented the age-old supermarket whilst Manors Golf launched a collection using Grime photographers and streetwear aesthetics to entice young people to try the sport. Even the local butchers had a rebrand with Sainsbury’s meat-free alternative opening in London. Proven hugely successful with consumers, who love seeing the familiar reintroduced with a modern edge, we expect a lot more of this in 2020. Perhaps the UK high street will experience a total overhaul - is the pharmacy next, followed by the humble bookshop?
D2C brands will embark on global takeovers
For the growing D2Cs who want to make their mark in 2020, one pop-up will not suffice if their customers are spread far and wide. This year, we’ve seen a huge number of online-only brands launch retail spaces in several cities over the course of a few months, including Paloma Wool, Rouje, Glossier, Daily Paper, RipNDip, and more. According to the Streetwear Impact Report, 52.6% of people still prefer to purchase goods in a physical store, so a global tour will be the best way for D2C brands to hit several markets over a condensed period of time.
The experiential boom will roll into the new year
Experiential will only get bigger and bolder in 2020. A marketing ploy to connect to customers, we’ve helped countless agencies form ideas for experiential events to help them impress clients without relying on ad words. In 2020, more competition means brands will have to come up with new ways to stand out with offline promotions, whether that’s through big name collaborations, killer freebies or outrageous PR stunts.
Store designers will prioritise sustainability
When it comes to fitting out a store, it seems sustainability will be at the forefront of any decision in 2020. Emerging designers like Fred Rigby are introducing ways to bring nature into retail spaces. Recently, he centered a whole store around sustainably-sourced wood, where English oak was made the hero. In response to the growing demand for rentable furniture, we partnered with Found to design a core collection, built using premium quality plywood and raw steel. The materials have been selected for their durability and sustainability, avoiding the standard flat-pack. Popularity for these alternatives will continue to soar in 2020.
Entrepreneurs will thrash the stigma of CBD
According to Harper’s Bazaar, there’s been a 367% increase in Google searches for CBD, naming it the number one wellness trend for 2020. This year, high-end retail space The Drug Store launched in London to educate consumers about CBD, whilst Miss Grass is setting out to do the same in New York. If the trend picks up even more momentum in 2020, CBD will have invaded every bathroom cabinet before we know it.
Words by @annabelherrick