The holidays are finally over, and New Year’s Resolutions are palpable among the public, but how about for retailers? It’s vital to understand your customers and current trends that may affect how, where and what they purchase in order to improve your business strategy in 2016. Let’s take a look at the latest hot topics in the retail industry to discover what will drive sales and consumer buying intentions.
The Evolution of Technology
You’ve probably read it, heard it, maybe even dreamt of it in your sleep at this point. It’s no mystery that digital technology drives purchasing behaviors and the majority of sales these days. Emerging technologies seen in recent years are projected to steadily increase, including mobile check-out and smart dressing room technology. “Usage of shopping apps on tablets and smartphones increased 174% in 2014 — more than any other app category.” At that rate, it’s no wonder these technologies continued to take off in 2015, and are projected to increase in 2016.
Social Media: A Virtual Shopping Mall?
Promoting products and services on social networks, such as Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram is nothing new, but the possibilities to also leverage these networks for eCommerce options is just around the corner. Pinterest has already tied eCommerce to their buy button program and is fully integrated with Shopify and Demandware. “To date, social commerce generates bigger increases in retail traffic than any other online channel” (dexmedia).
A Health-Conscious Direction
It’s understandable wanting to be a one-stop shop for consumers, especially after witnessing the success of retailers such as Amazon and Walmart. Yet, niche products that relate to health are gaining momentum as well, including teas, scrubs, and all-natural goods. In addition, fitness trackers have been very successful as of late. Apple tapped into this market with their Apple Watch, and shares of Fitbit, Inc. rose 5% after Black Friday in November of 2015 and another 4% after the Christmas holiday, taking the lead in the wearable device market. Health-conscious apparel is also rising in popularity among female consumers, with Nike dominating the athleisure market. A report from Morgan Stanley predicts the “activewear industry will add $82 billion in sales globally by 2020.”
2016, A Year for Possibilities
The exact future of retail is unknown, but retail forecasting will always rely on the demands of consumers. It is important to keep up to date with current research in order to understand what drives consumer purchasing behaviors. We will continue to post updates about the trends in the retail industry throughout the year so stay tuned!