Why retail may never be normal again

13th November 2017

Photo: Valerie Wilson Trower

Brands are set to face a decade of disruption due to a number of simultaneous changes to consumer behaviour, technology, and business models, according to new research.

Trending 2018, the latest report from Foresight Factory, describes the new reality as the #NeverNormal.

According to Foresight Factory director of content Dominic Harrison, “The #NeverNormal is a period in which many of the things once considered immutable and certain face serious disruption from fresh forces stalking lives and markets. Previously, epochs were defined by a singular event around which society and business would re-orientate themselves – for example, the financial crisis of 2008. However, the #NeverNormal is defined by a multitude of these kind of events happening simultaneously and interacting in unpredictable ways.”

Harrison says that after a decade of digitally-driven consumer empowerment the #NeverNormal will see some trends retained – but that established behaviours may be “rocked to the core” as the traditional business models are upended.

Key trends include a dismantling of traditional stores of authority and the growing potency of filter bubbles – which see authority become localised, and ‘truth’ become more objective; the renegotiation of established norms such as the attitude to the role of the state and views of globalisation; and changes to – or even cancellation of – traditional life stages.

Retail will be impacted by changing views of brand loyalty by ‘free range’ consumers, while the continual upgrading of products after they have been purchased will impact on product lifecycles and repurchase levels.