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Published June 3rd 2024

The Future of Retail: Top Trends for 2024

Which retail trends have sparked the most buzz online? From shrinkflation backlash to concerns around AI-powered surveillance and automation, discover the biggest retail trends from our blog.

What trends can retailers expect to emerge or continue beyond 2024?

Today we’re exploring the top trends retail brands need to be aware of to maintain a competitive edge. 

This blog is a snippet from our latest Retail Trends 2024 report. For this report, we analyzed online conversations using Brandwatch Consumer Research to see how consumer behavior has changed. 

Read on to discover the biggest trends in retail. 

Trend #1 Consumers call for more transparency on pricing from brands 

Consumers remain concerned about the rising cost of living. We gathered 16 months’ worth of mentions of "can't afford," "too expensive," and "overcharging" between January 2023 and April 2024. Rent and food expenses dominated these conversations, accounting for 35% and 29% of the total mentions, respectively. 

Grocery costs emerged as a significant topic, with 187.5k mentions between October 2023 and April 2024, a 14% increase from the previous six months.  

In grocery discussions, consumers frequently brought up the topic of "shrinkflation," showcasing photos of popular products that have recently visibly shrunk in size or quantity, while their prices remained the same.  

Mentions of shrinkflation surged by 112% within the last 16 months compared to the previous period. 

In online conversations, many consumers criticized brands for not being transparent about the changes and often using greenwashing to appear more environmentally conscious. 

Trend #2 The impact of AI on the shopping experience is growing 

AI continues to influence the retail conversation. 

Between October 15, 2023 and April 15, 2024 we tracked 262.1k mentions of AI in retail-related conversations, an increase of 27% compared to the previous six months.  

Personalization was one of the bigger themes in those conversations. Between October 15, 2023 and April 15, 2024, we tracked close to 18k mentions of "personalization” and "personalized", a 67% increase compared to the previous six months.

Consumers seek more convenience when shopping, such as personalized recommendations and easy customer support, and they welcome the idea of AI. Yet, in related conversations online, many people were quick to point out that AI-powered automation is not always helpful, suggesting there’s a long way to go before they fully embrace it.  

Trend #3 Growing concerns over in-store AI surveillance  

The rise in shoplifting has become a significant issue for the retail sector. A recent industry study reported that in 2022, retail stores lost $1.77 trillion worldwide to theft

To combat in-store theft, some retailers have started investing in AI-powered surveillance technology.  

We gathered 56k online mentions around AI and retail theft between October 2023 and April 2024, with anger dominating the conversation, up 108% from the previous six months.  

In those discussions, many consumers criticized invasive technology and AI-powered checkout systems, while sharing personal stories of being wrongfully accused of stealing at the checkout point.  

Amid consumer concerns over AI, retail brands should use AI cautiously, creating a balance that delivers a positive customer experience without alienating customers.  

Discover more retail trends in our newly published Retail Trends report and learn about: 

  • Consumers embracing AI-driven convenience  
  • Consumer opinions and sentiments about automation in customer service 
  • Sustainability in retail and the growth of ‘deinfluencing’ 

Also, discover advice retail brands can use to optimize their strategies in the year ahead. 

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