Convenience is no.1 driving retail trend; price competition expected to have decreasing impact

Results of the Retail Trend Monitor 2015 Retailers and retail experts have voted overall convenience of the shopping experience for the consumer as being the most important influencer on retail development this year.

Compared to the survey results from 2013, this trend has gained considerable importance, rising from 7th place in 2013 to number one this year. This indicates the growing importance for online and offline retailers to offer a convenient shopping experience, as it drives consumer choices. Added to that, while convenience is expected to continue to be important in the future, price competition is expected to have a decreasing impact on retail development.

The convenience of the shopping experience is closely followed by internet and mobile communication as being leading drivers of retail development this year. While it ranks third at the moment, mobile communication is expected to weld the greatest impact on development of retail in future. This will be driven by the increasing breadth of mobile services, with customers using these services to search online and compare products while shopping. Seamless multi-channel retailing, supported by these trends, is also expected to gain importance.

Markus Tuschl, global director of digital retail research at GfK, comments, “Mobile communication is currently rated third – but our panel of retailers and experts say they expect to see it increase in importance and take the top spot in the future. Consumers are embracing the convenience of ‘instant information, whenever I want it’ offered by smartphones – and potentially even by smartwatches in the future. Mobile communication also satisfies a very basic need of shoppers - socializing while shopping. This desire is especially seen in the shoppers of the future: those currently aged 25 or younger.”

By reaching the consumer at any point during his purchase journey, mobile communication can offer an additional marketing opportunity for retailers with physical outlets. Location-based services using mobile apps are seen by majority of the respondents as an opportunity for attracting customers and researching customer behavior in-store.

In view of the findings above, retail formats that include mobile retail solutions are expected to be most successful in future. The second most promising format is internet marketplaces, which offer previously traditional retailers the opportunity to sell online and access the multi-channel world of the consumer.

As a consequence of these developments, online sales are expected to increase considerably in future. This development will be clearly dominated by downloadable goods (software and entertainment).

Download the summary findings from GfK’s Retail Trend Monitor 2015