In a rapidly evolving technology landscape, various tools and strategies have been enticing retailers to explore new ways to market and sell products, from social media marketplaces to live-stream retail and metaverse storefronts. Yet, with just 16% of Americans able to define what the metaverse is, according to Ipsos, operators are being challenged not to run into virtual retail realms before they can walk.
One reason is patience. As explored in The Focus Filter, brands are fighting for people’s attention amid ceaseless distractions, especially online. Analysis by America’s National Retail Federation shows that when it comes to live-stream retail, Millennials and Baby Boomers are less likely to have the time or patience to keep track of product drops or demos.
In the era of Eco-venient Retail, shoppers are now more aware of ways to balance expedited delivery and access to products with greener processes. Despite accelerating e-commerce, however, there is a side effect: consumers are still drawn to the tactility of physical stores.
According to a study by consultancy PwC, nearly half (48%) of global consumers make purchases inside a physical store at least once a week, compared to 41% who do the same on their mobile or smartphone. And while some shoppers are having to tighten their belts, they still see the value in physical stores: Gen Z (45%) are as likely to have shopped in stores over the past12 months as Baby Boomers (44%).
The impact of Covid-19, ongoing job insecurities and the increasing cost of living are threatening to reduce disposable income across global nations, while fostering behaviours centred on fiscal security and frugality.
Research from Citizens Advice finds that, to save money, one in five people in the UK cut back on their food shop (19%) or used less heating (20%) in the last quarter of 2021. Dame Clare Moriarty, CEO of Citizens Advice, says: ‘All of us are noticing our bills go up, but for people on the tightest budgets there’s simply nothing left to cut back on.’
Meanwhile, global unemployment is expected to stand at 205m people in 2022, greatly surpassing the 187mrecorded pre-pandemic in 2019. Considering the long-term scarring of the pandemic on global economies, the worst affected regions for unemployment in the first half of 2021 were Latin America and the Caribbean, and Europe and Central Asia (source: International Labour Organization).
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