Ten Major Consumer Trends Will Dominate the Retailosphere

Written by:



As sure as the leaves begin to change from their verdant summer hue into a medley of autumn gold, orange, and brown — and as sure as the hum of jet-skis is replaced by that of the early morning growling of yellow Bluebird school buses, Fall will soon be upon us, and that means that school will soon be back in session.

And for keen observers of retail, this means brushing up on the latest consumer engagement trends and themes that have been emerging in recent years, many of which promise to figure prominently in the months ahead.

Of course, some of these trends have been long in the making but fall ’23 will be the time when they really come into their own and be on full display at retail locations across the country. These emerging trends will also provide near-endless fodder for content as the calendar of industry gatherings gets going. Expect topics from this list of ten major retail trends to be discussed on in keynotes, roundtables, and fireside chats, grabbing trade headlines and of course, serving as the focus of endless PowerPoint presentations.

But no worries, TRR has you covered. Here we break down ten major consumer retail trends that we expect will be dominating the ‘retailosphere’ in the year ahead. Study up!

Ten emerging trends will provide near-endless fodder for content as the calendar of industry gatherings gets going. Expect topics from this list of ten major retail trends to be discussed on in keynotes, roundtables, and fireside chats, grabbing trade headlines and of course, serving as the focus of endless PowerPoint presentations.

1. Experiential Extravaganza: Shopping + Adventure

Let’s face it, all things being equal, Covid-19 proved what many retail execs had been privately speculating for quite a few years – that many consumers would just as soon stay at home and shop online rather than venture out to the local mall. Now, with the pandemic (hopefully!) in the rearview mirror, in the year ahead brick-and-mortar retailers will continue to be forced to look for even more ways to turn in-person shopping into an adventure of its own. It’s no longer about taking in the Crayola Experience or the rock climbing walls inside of Dick’s House of Sport; expect to see more stores and brands turning into action-packed playgrounds, no matter what they sell.

Imagine stepping into a sneaker store that’s decked out like an urban jungle, with parkour experts demonstrating the flexibility of each pair. Or a bookstore that transforms into a mystery escape room – crack the clues, find the books! Brands like Nike are already leading the pack with their interactive sneaker customization stations where you can design your kicks down to the last detail. It’s all about bringing these brands to life through experience.

2. Omnichannel Magic: Where the Virtual and Real Worlds Collide

We’ve been hearing about the looming AR/VR watershed moment for retail stores for a while now, but the year ahead could really be the time when the dam finally breaks. In 2023 and 2024, many stores will be encouraging shoppers to strap on virtual reality goggles, blurring the lines between online and in-store, virtual and real. Home Depot, for instance, is already empowering shoppers to virtually tour the aisles using their smartphones, helping consumers locate items without walking endless miles inside their airport-hangar sized stores. And Gucci? Well, they’ve turned shopping into a dreamy art show. Their AR app lets shoppers try on their latest designs virtually, ensuring shoppers are runway-ready before even hitting the store.

3. “Bespoking”: Personalization on Steroids

Bid farewell to the one-size-fits-all approach. In 2024, it’s all about “bespoking” – the new hot industry term for extreme personalization. Brands like Stitch Fix are using AI algorithms to curate personalized fashion boxes based on consumers’ personal style preferences. And remember that time you mentioned loving caramel lattes on social media? Starbucks is on it, crafting a personalized menu for you, complete with a latte art version of your profile pic. And this is a trend that is just getting started.

4. Eco-Chic Revolution: Shopping with a Conscience

Sustainability isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a lifestyle, and retailers of all persuasions and products are piling on the eco-chic movement in a big way. The success of Patagonia’s Worn Wear program encourages customers to bring back pre-loved items for repair or resale, and in the process reducing waste, is something that an increasing number of brands both large and small have been looking to emulate and make their own. And of course, in fashion, the move to so-called sustainable inputs akin to H&M’s Conscious Collection that features garments made from sustainable materials, will continue to gain steam, although separating hype and marketing from true eco-friendly overtures will continue to fall on the shoulders of consciousness consumers.

5. Hyper-Localization: Leaning into Community Connections

Neighborhood pride takes the spotlight as stores embrace their local communities. In 2024, it’s going to be all about retail hyper localization. Well-known clothing lines might collaborate with a local artist to create limited-edition designs. And coffee shops? They’ll host tasting events with local roasters, turning daily brews into a neighborhood celebration. It’s all about using community to find a local hook into consumers.

6. High-Tech Wonderland: Shopping Meets Sci-Fi!

Retailers of all different segments – from multi-brand Big Boxers to gas stations are going to be more aggressive in the year ahead in experimenting with technologies that just a few years ago would have seemed straight out of sci-fi. Welcome to the retail revolution, where technology is the star of the show. Although Adidas’s Speedfactories sputtered and were ultimately shuttered, the dream of using cutting-edge tech to create customized sneakers in hours, not weeks is still very much in the plans for many footwear companies. And this year the idea is to bring the production – or at least the last leg of it – into select retail locations. But it’s not just in fashion and shoes; Lowe’s is bringing in robots to help you find items on your shopping list – a shopping buddy that never complains. Even fast-food chains are thinking about how to use AI, robotics, and predictive tech to make the time from order to hungry mouths even faster.

7. Wellness Oasis: Retail for Body and Soul

In the year ahead, look for retail to lean into nurturing and wellbeing in a big way. Think about how Lululemon turned many of its flagship stores into mini-yoga studios, offering free classes for customers. Or how Sephora’s Beauty Insider community not only guides consumer through makeup trends but also offers meditation and self-care tips. Expect to see a lot more of this type of engagement that will seek to bring consumers through the door for something they won’t be able to get in a virtual or distance setting.

8. Pop-Up Galore: Limited Time Only

Pop-up stores are popping up everywhere, and they’re transforming shopping into an event. Years ago, Google launched a Pop-Up Donut Shop in New York City to give visitors an interactive taste of Google Assistant. Buit that was just the tip of the iceberg. Now, in the back half of 2023, Pop Up is an ongoing strategy that is not about just garnering PR but is part and parcel of ongoing consumer engagement tactics. Many brands that have yet to jump onto the Pop-Up bandwagon will finally do so, revealing Pop Ups of their own during the 2023/2024.

9. Social Shopping: Friends, Fashion, and FOMO!

Shopping and social media are the ultimate BFFs now. Instagram’s Shoppable Posts enable consumers to buy products directly from influencer feeds. And if you’ve ever spotted something you love on Pinterest, now you can shop similar items with their new visual search tool. Expect to see increasing proximity between social media (Threads meets Threads!) and retail in the months ahead.

10. SKIMs: What Everyone Will Be Talking About

Kim Kardashian’s Skims has grown like wildfire since launching in 2019, and now the previous direct-to-consumer brand will be opening its first flagship store in the U.S. in the first half of 2024. “Kim and I can envision a future where years from now there’s a Skims store anywhere in the world you’d find an Apple store or a Nike store,” said Jens Grede, co-founder and chief executive officer of Skims. The first of its many planned retail spaces will be located in West Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard and from there, the company plans to be, well, everywhere, starting in Dallas, Paris, Miami, Atlanta and Hong Kong. It will be the brick-and-mortar retail story everyone will be fawning over and talking about endlessly in the year ahead.



Scroll to Top
the Daily Report

Insights + Interviews right to your inbox.