Summer is in full swing across the nation, making it a perfect opportunity to pause and reflect on life, liberty and retail sales. Say what? Yes, that’s right. “Spending has increased sharply in the second quarter, with retail, including restaurants, reaching $507 billion in June, a rise of 6.6% over a year ago.” That’s a lot of clams; more than you’ll find on Tillamook Bay.
Consumers are excitedly embracing their 24/7 shopping superpower as proven by the biggest global shopping event ever, Amazon Prime Day. Visitors to the site, myself included, experienced a buffered experience thanks to massive online traffic as Amazon’s site crashed before the sales could even begin.
Here is a roundup of five retail trends that are brewing this season:
THE DRONE HAS LANDED
As consumers embracement of online shopping increases, delivery will be next in their line of vision. And the faster, the better. If the sizable investments made by Amazon Prime Air, Google’s Project Wing and even Boeing are any indication, the drone will become the holy grail for 3PL logistics. And now that the FAA will be launching a pilot program to partner governmental organizations with the private sector, drones are likely to become the shipping option of choice in the foreseeable future.
CASH IS DEAD
Conversations about blockchain technology are all the rage as folks begin to better understand how it can enhance the digital shopping experience and streamline payment structures. From locating stolen goods to combating counterfeits and issuing targeted messaging for recalls, there is a considerable benefit to incorporating blockchain technology according to Deloitte. And as automation becomes the norm, experts suggest that blockchains will improve the efficiency of business operations for retailing from 40% to 60%.
PICK ME UP BUTTER(CUP)
Walmart was the first to pilot the drive-thru grocery delivery in 2014. They have since added pickup towers to their storefronts to facilitate faster ‘delivery’ to shoppers. Jumping on the bandwagon, Target and Publix both plan to expand curbside service to their networks of stores but it’s unclear if America is on board. According to Nielsen HomeScan, four out of 10 online shoppers in the U.S. have used click and collect in the last six months. Those shoppers are more likely to live in urban cities and skew highest among middle-income families aged 18-44. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how grocery shopping evolves.
WORK. EAT. PLAY. REPEAT.
The rising popularity of coworking spaces that has blurred the lines between work and home for the ‘9-to-5’ set is now bleeding over to members of the gig economy. In cities worldwide, restaurants are the latest to tap into the shared office space. For a nominal monthly fee, membership grants small businesses and entrepreneurs access to quiet, and often underutilized, daytime space at local restaurants and cafes. From Amsterdam to Brooklyn, Austin to San Francisco, this is one trend that is likely to spread like wildfire.
FASHION FOR ALL PEOPLE
Long overlooked by retailers, plus-size, big and tall, and petite fashion segments are going mainstream. Peter Manning, the fashion brand for not-so-tall men opened its first brick-and-mortar in New York City this year. J Crew and Universal Standard recently entered into a partnership to launch a plus-size collection for fashion-forward pieces this summer and fall in sizes ranging 0-32. And global sportswear Nike, has committed to growing their women’s offering into an $11 billion business by 2020. Retailers are finally recognizing that consumers represent all shapes and sizes across genders.
What trends do you see this summer? Email me to let me know, or better yet, follow me on Twitter for regular updates and musings about commercial real estate and the retail industry.
Anjee continues to be an insatiable collector of all things retail. She’s a student of culture living next door to future shoppers, whose fleeting trends constantly change the retail landscape … driving retailers, landlords and developers crazy!