Change has been the name of the game for retailers. Consumers are responding to an uncertain economy, shifting cultural trends, advances in technology, and even logistical hurdles such as supply chain constraints and rising gas prices. All of these factors combined are creating a new world of consumer behavior in every dimension possible, including what products they want, and also how they will shop for them. How should retailers respond to retail trends? What products do today’s shoppers actually want? Will people shop this upcoming holiday season? How can retailers keep up with the myriad of channels shoppers have at their disposal?
In Near’s new report, The New World of Consumer Behavior: Retail 2022-2023, we surveyed consumers about their shopping habits, the products they want, and their shopping plans for the 2022 holiday season. We combined that with human movement data—location data gathered from opted-in mobile phones– to get a unique glimpse into people’s shopping patterns both at a macro level, but also for specific regions, geographies, and age groups. This includes identifying who today’s shoppers are, where they shop, how far they’re willing to travel, and how long they stay in-store.
5 trends for retailers to watch
We identified five shopping trends for retailers to watch for, which we will cover in detail over the coming weeks:
The good and challenging news for retailers
The good news first. Consumers want to shop, and as they look towards the 2022 holiday season, they have no plans to hold back, even when compared to 2021. In fact, 77% of shoppers reported that they plan to spend at least the same amount in 2022 as they did in 2021, with 31% saying they plan to spend even more.
This is despite consumer fears about the economy, including recession, inflation, and other post-pandemic jitters. A whopping 86% of shoppers said that the state of the economy concerns them and will affect their shopping plans.
An added challenge is that there is no longer any single defined way to shop. Shoppers are increasingly embracing omnichannel shopping behaviors, with 69% saying they combine online and in-store shopping in a myriad of different ways, and often not in a consistent manner. Some shoppers research products online, but then buy them in stores. Some do the opposite. For some shoppers, their purchasing path depends entirely on the type of product. This alone expands the number of options shoppers have, but also doesn’t account for a host of other factors:
How the product gets into their hands.
Retailer tactics and advertisements.
Do stores offer in-store coupons or email discounts for online-only flash sales? Have they started loyalty programs or subscription services?
Macroeconomic and technology trends.
This will be the biggest challenge for retailers this holiday season and in the years to come. How can retailers meet their customers’ desires, when those desires can take an unlimited number of different forms?
How retailers can respond
More than ever, retailers must be ready to provide diverse shopping experiences and tailor to what their many customers want. To do that, retailers will have to build deep relationships with their customers and know who they are, what products they want, and critically for today, how they want to shop.
This is a tough task, but retailers who adapt now to be more flexible, customer-centric, and data-driven, are the ones best positioned to succeed in the years to come.
The top retailers of today have weathered the ups and downs of the past few years by creating a cohesive shopping experience that caters to how their customers want to shop. This includes both physical and digital touchpoints, from getting customers excited about a product, to getting them in the door, to becoming a loyal repeat customer.
The most successful retailers of tomorrow will have to go even further and use data—both their own and third-party data–to build rich customer relationships that are stronger than the ever-changing consumer behavior.
Survey conducted August 17-22, 2022 with 634 in the United States and 509 respondents in Australia, Census-weighted by age, gender, income and region.
Near studied pulled human movement data for retail locations across the United States and Australia, looking at specific locations in the Sydney, Melbourne, Dallas, San Jose and Nashville areas for August 1, 2021 – September 30, 2022. Reports used included Near Pinnacle’s Estimated Visits, Time Spent, Visitor Home and Work Locations Insights, as well as Near’s Geosocial Affinity, Estimated Visitors, and Cross-Visitation Reports.