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Published January 14th 2022

The Big Retail Industry Trends for 2022

What are the latest trends in retail marketing? Read all about the emerging trends of 2022 with data from Brandwatch's insight tools.

What trends can retailers expect to continue or emerge in 2022? Today we’re exploring top trends in retail that businesses need to keep in mind heading into 2022. 

1. Online shopping is for everyone (and everything) now

The pandemic was a catalyst for virtual everything: work, school, heck, even happy hours. For some industries this was easy, for others, like retail, the pandemic brought on particularly difficult challenges.

A study by Digital Commerce 360, found that top companies generated $849.5 billion in online sales in 2020, a 45.3 percent increase year-over-year and the biggest jump since 2006.

Online shopping was the only way to shop, so consumers adapted and, now, they’re used to the convenience of delivery for pretty much every kind of item – big or small, expensive or cheap.

This transition also helped knock down some of the key barriers to adoption among older generations. Pre-pandemic, one of the challenges in e-commerce was getting boomers to embrace the digital way of shopping. In 2020, Americans 65 and older rang up an average of nearly $187 per month online last year, up 60% from the year earlier.

This puts ecommerce in a solid position, with spending to remain high, something retail businesses do not want to miss out on.

2. Getting unconventional with virtual events

Innovation is the name of the game in 2022, retailers have already made huge strides since pre-pandemic operations but they’ll need to keep pushing. 

With in-store shopping still being somewhat limited for the last year, figuring out how to provide a seamless experience online continued to be top of mind for most retail companies. 

Many companies were praised for offering AI- and AR-powered retail tech to provide a way for consumers to try on clothes, accessories, and even makeup virtually. Touch-free tech also became more popular for payment, with e-wallets slowly but surely taking over cash and credit card payments.

Meanwhile, some people passed on the virtual try-ons and opted to tune in to their favorite influencers via live-stream. Deprived of mall-based shopping sprees due to the pandemic and social restrictions, many consumers happily spent hours online watching their favorite celebrities, local TV personalities, and influencers host entertaining shows featuring products that are designed to sell.

This tends to include a blend of streaming video, live chatting on social media, and DTC live selling.

Just like Avon, Retailers big and small must stay on top of these shifts in preferences to ensure they are offering consumers what they want in the name of safety.

3. Pre-orders gain popularity due to supply shortages

In 2020, toilet paper basically became a trigger word, sending visions of shortages and insane stockpilers dancing in our heads. So, it logically tracks that customers have turned to more extreme measures to secure what they need. Enter: pre-orders.

Accepting pre-orders presents retailers with a good opportunity to plan well in advance of events or seasons that typically see high demand, potentially helping them to avoid shortages caused by disruptions in the supply chain. We may even see pre-ordering become the norm for goods that wouldn't traditionally be offered up for pre-order, and it may be something brands should experiment with.

Beware of issues with order fulfillment as it could elicit connections to “shortages''. This topic was trending in conversations among the Gen Z population and shared a very negative sentiment. As we head into 2022, this will likely continue to be a worry, with many goods and services impacted by the ongoing shockwaves of the pandemic.

4. Consumers continue to advocate for shopping small & local

You’ve likely seen the hashtags #shoplocal or #shopsmall floating around your timeline during this holiday season. That’s because consumers today care a lot more about the brands they shop with, and what those companies stand for. They are also interested in who benefits from the money they spend.

Brandwatch data showed us that the types of businesses consumers want to support tend to be smaller operations. It follows a growing trend in concern over the ethics behind brand names and concerns around sustainability.

In 2020, among conversations about shopping small and local, there were 10 popular hashtags that generated interest:

Black-owned businesses

As we mentioned, the push towards shopping small also includes minority-owned stores. The “support black-owned businesses” social media trend saw over 1 million mentions in 2020.

Thanks to a recent update by Google, It’s now becoming much easier to identify black-owned businesses. The search engine giant just added a “black-owned” label to its Google shopping search results.

5. Delivery takes the cake for pandemic MVP

Expectations around convenience and hesitations around shopping in-person meant that conversations around delivery and e-commerce fulfillment grew rapidly in 2020. Here’s a snapshot:

  • Total mentions: +33% when compared to 2019
  • Unique authors: +48% when compared to 2019.

It is pivotal that retailers monitor consumer buying behaviors as well as growing trends for particular products or services so they can meet needs at the time of highest demand

6. Online window shopping means higher rates of cart abandonment

Digital shopping cart abandonment is no new subject but the pandemic has caused an increase in the phenomenon. A resurgence of online “window shopping” emerged in 2020 and 2021 as people in lockdown filled their time with visions of packages landing on their doorstep.

In December 2020, Baymard Institute shared that between 57.60-84.27% of initiated shopping carts were abandoned. Our social data saw consumers share several, sometimes surprising, motivations as to why they abandoned their shopping carts. The most common three were:

  1. “Saving up”
  2. Procrastination
  3. “Wishful-thinking" shopping (low purchase intent)

There aren’t many direct actions businesses can take to change window shopping online but investigating cart abandonment could mean finding improvements in the areas that can be controlled. Consider things like poor UX, confusing checkout process, limited payment options, and security concerns.

Download our free report to discover more trends.

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