The Future of Retail: How to Succeed in the Next Five Years

Retailers today around the globe are facing an uncertain future. From a huge acceleration of digital shopping, overnight retail changes amidst a global pandemic, to changing consumer behaviors and expectations, it’s often hard to know where to focus and how to get on track for future growth.

To further explore these themes and help construct a pathway for the future of retail, Euromonitor Consulting partnered with Google for a 10-market study, focusing on the United States and Europe. The study looked at physical retail, e-commerce and marketplace sales and analyzed consumer and retailer trends in each of these channels.

Utilizing Euromonitor’s wide range of consulting methodologies and in-house retail experts from around the globe, the team developed a close partnership with Google and two of its’ retailing experts, Pablo Pérez, Head of Market Insights, Spain and Portugal and Georgie Altman, Strategic Insights Manager, to complete this research. Through a multi-method approach combining primary consumer insights and retailer feedback, key trends were identified to inform recommendations on the Future of Retail strategies.

Euromonitor and Google arrived at overarching findings that can help drive retailers in the right direction to position themselves for growth in the next five years. These include:

1. As consumers are shopping across channels both offline and online often in the same purchase, a retailer can no longer be in just one channel.

2. Consumers crave retailer expertise and customer service that empowers them to make the best purchases they can. They want to feel good about purchases and look to retailers for guidance but not to make the decision.

3. Digital strategies are leading the future of retail, with the online share of total sales making up 22% [1] of total retail sales in 2024, compared to 14% in 2019. Retailers that think of online and offline as one entity and can integrate the consumer experience across them seamlessly will win.

4. The winning digital channels retailers should invest in include:

a. Physical heavy retail (a combination of online and offline sales) focusing on expanded customer services and seamless experiences. In the next five years, this channel will make-up 33% of the total retail market across the US and Europe.

b. Working with specialized marketplaces that support brands’ independence and branding control will be key to retailers’ growth. Marketplaces and multi-channel formats will drive 86% [2] of retail sales growth in the next five years across Europe and the US.

The project partnership remained open and flexible even in times of disruption. Pablo Pérez, Google’s Head of Market Insights – Spain and Portugal, states:

“Euromonitor quickly involved us in their cooperative work style, partnering with us to help define the brief. Always challenging assumptions, applying rigorous research discipline and remaining flexible as Covid-19 hit. Keeping a firm focus on the end goal Euromonitor delivered beyond expectations. This collaborative and transparent approach produced dynamic results including an animated video, written reports and recorded presentations that immediately impacted Google’s retail strategy and provided the basis for multiple client interactions, both for large corporate clients and local market levels.”

The ramifications of this study, while heavily focused on retail, go well beyond that landscape. Potentially impacting the relationship between manufacturers and retailers, increasing the significance of logistics companies and leading to significant innovation and dependence on technology. Euromonitor’s industry experts, innovation team and research analysts continue to employ unique approaches to unearth these impacts across a multitude of product, service industries, and companies including Google.

This post is inspired by Think with Google. Extracts from this article are the property of ThinkwithGoogle. Original post authored by Pablo Pérez and Georgie Altman.

To learn more about Euromonitor Consulting, click here.

[1] Euromonitor Passport Retailing 2020 for ten market total including: UK, USA, DK, SE, ES, IT, DE, FR, PL, NL.

[2] Euromonitor (custom consulting project for Google). UK, USA, DK, SE, ES, IT, DE, FR, PL, NL. Retail Foresight. June 2020