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What to Watch: Retail 2022

WWD | January 4, 2022

In 2022, consumers shop heavily for expensive cookware, garden accessories, equipment for outdoor kitchens, luxurious fabrications and versatile clothing suitable for Zoom calls, office meetings, sitting in a café and the “new normal” of hybrid work schedules. Inflation has been the highest in almost four decades; labor costs continue to increase; anniversarying 2021 COVID-19 stimulus checks; the flight to the suburbs, and, of course, COVID-19 with the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

2022 Retail trends:

Technology: Increasing investments in personalization, augmented reality for enhanced product viewing, selling and communication tools for sales associates, livestreaming, cyber security and insuring privacy to fight rising online fraud.

Conveniences: Investments in speedier deliveries, buy online, pick up in store, and providing buy now, pay later, Target is “ahead of the game” with omnicapabilities, appealing store environments, its partnership with Shipt for speedy deliveries, and the rollout of Ulta shops-in-shop. Walmart is poised to grab market share, through its strength in groceries and the Walmart+ membership program. It offers free delivery from a store, member prices on fuel at select stations, and use of mobile “scan & go” to scan items as a customer shops in-store, thereby streamlining the checkout process. Walmart recently launched Walmart GoLocal providing deliveries to local businesses and increasing its revenue stream.

Inventories: Deliveries arrive closer to need; markdowns more prevalent in the first half, second half sees greater full-price selling amid another extended holiday selling season; broader, eclectic assortments rise up through adoption of online marketplace formats.

Merchandise Trends: The jewelry business continues to skyrocket. People are spending on themselves more, and with the age of Zoom, jewelry is one of those things that still can be seen. Casual sportswear and athletic footwear remain strong; workwear picks up; big opportunities seen in pet apparel and gear; health and wellness; furniture and mattresses will continue to expand. Consumer spending could shift toward more experiences and less stuff.

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