January 18th, 2021

Design 4Retail

Insight article

Welcome to our ‘future retail 2021’ whitepaper.

Report contents

1.0 Introduction
2.0 Emotion & empathy
3.0 Hyper-localisation
4.0 Adaptation
5.0 Assistive technology
6.0 Sustainability
7.0 New gen luxury
8.0 Our perspective



1.0 Introduction

After a tumultuous year that has seen unprecedented impact on retail trade,
a recent report (Centre of Retail Research) forecast that over 20,000 UK stores may not open their doors again. Many retailers were already seeing reduced
performance in their physical portfolio through 2019 with sales falling for
the first time in over twenty years due to growth in digital commerce and
a change in consumer preference for leisure experiences instead of ‘things’.

Covid-19 has been a catalyst for change for those brands who had already
identified the need to evolve, accelerating how we define the function of
physical retail in an increasingly digital world. Though we’re now seeing
a thinned out high street with many closed brick-and-mortar stores and
established big players downsizing, there has been a significant shift in the
purpose of physical retail with successful brand strategies identifying that
retail is no longer just a distribution channel.

We’ve seen fantastic insight and innovations driving significant changes,
large and small, across the whole spectrum of retail. Brands are re-imagining
customer service, leveraging digital as never before, transforming the
experiential elements of retail, and investing in dynamic, interactive virtual
spaces to meet their customers’ new demands and expectations.

For this report we have evaluated the activity and ideas that we have
tracked and seen flourish in 2020, and brought together our predictions
for the most important trends that will impact the retail landscape and
consumer behaviours in 2021. We are beginning to see what the
future of retail could look like as we start a new year in a new normal. We
hope these insights provide some food for thought, and inspire you as we’ve
been inspired to begin 2021 with high hopes, and our creativity fired up!

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