Our consulting team attended NRF’s State of Retail (and the Consumer) 2023, and wanted to share key takeaways on the event.

Overall, retail sales are growing steadily – and have even escalated to pre-pandemic levels – but the going is tougher than ever for retailers, as customers are less loyal than ever. Those that focus on driving loyalty via value (and value can mean different things to different customer sets) and a superior omni experience will come out on top.

The Speakers:

  • Jonathan Silver - CEO and Founder, Affinity Solutions
  • Pashmeena Hilal - Research Manager and Thought Leadership Lead, Google
  • Kathy Bostjancic - SVP and Chief Economist, Nationwide
  • Gregory Daco - Chief Economist, EY
  • Anushka Salinas - President and COO, Rent the Runway
  • Haio Berbieto - President and CEO, Old Navy

State of Retail - Economy and Sales Predictions:

  • During the beginning of the pandemic, many forecasters predicted a drastic shift in retail trends but have now reverted back to pre-pandemic predictions as “the new normal” shook out to be pretty similar to our previous one.
  • Retail sales expected to grow 4-6% in 2023 – above average 3.6% growth rate pre pandemic.
  • The biggest impact on retail sales will continue to be inflation and rising prices.
  • Labor market is key to determining market resilience as income is key influencer in consumer spending.
    • This is putting pressure on businesses as price and wage levels determine their market position.

The Consumer - Trends:

  • Loyalty is down YoY as customers from all income brackets are “doing the math” and focusing on the price value equation.
  • Omni strategy is still crucial and bridging the gap between online and in store should be a priority as customers are no longer loyal to one channel.
    • The usage of in store apps while shopping in store is expected to grow, so building out and optimizing that experience for your specific customer is important.
  • Brands and retailers should zoom in and focus on their customer and their respective behaviors and needs... with a focus on what value means to YOUR customer is the best way to navigate shifting brand loyalty.

Our consulting team is happy to chat through the above with you if you have any questions or would like more information, please don't hesitate to reach out

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