retail trends 2018

Personalised products will continue to be popular with shoppers in 2018.

Augmented reality and personalisation will drive consumers to spend this year, according to Euromonitor International.

The market research company has released its top 10 global consumer trends list for 2018, a year in which global consumer expenditure is expected to grow at it’s strongest rate since 2011.

Here are four trends retailers need to be aware of.

The borrowers

The sharing economy is no longer a niche market. Many consumers—particularly city dwellers—are looking for access rather than ownership of products, and businesses like Uber, Airbnb and Rent the Runway are now mainstream.

Affordability, convenience and sustainability are key factors in the growth of the sharing economy. This has led established businesses to rethink their business models. For example, in November last year Westfield London launched a pay-as-you-wear outfit rental service called Style Trial. The pop-up shop allowed consumers to hire designer clothing and accessories, which were loaned free by fashion labels, with all proceeds going to charity.


The shift in focus from possessions to experiences is changing purchasing patterns and driving buyers to connect with the product creation process. I-Designers are assuming the role of creators as more retailers bring out personalisation options.

I-Designers want to create something that is unique to them. They don’t want to make a product from scratch but are looking for retailers to offer the tools they need to easily personalise their items.

A best practice example of this trend is Mon Purse. Customers are able to design every part of a handbag, from the colour and texture of the leather to the hardware and monogramming, either online or using a tablet in-store. The brand keeps the design process simple and easy to follow and algorithms are used to ensure colours and patterns don’t clash.

Call out culture

Empowered consumers are using social media to highlight injustices and hold brands to account. Movements like the #MeToo campaign and #OscarsSoWhite show the power of social media to start conversations and generate change.

As part of this call out culture consumers are using social media to voice their opinions about brands to great effect. In the US, the #GrabYourWallet campaign urged consumers to boycott Trump-related products and services, while retailer Target was the subject of a boycott over its bathroom policy.

A Sprout Social survey from 2017 found that 50 per cent of US consumers would boycott a brand that responded poorly to a complaint on social media.

View in my roomers

Augmented reality (AR) will continue to grow in 2018, allowing consumers to virtually experiment with products. AR is already used to try on beauty products with Sephora, while the Ikea Place app lets customers see true-to-scale 3D models of Ikea furniture in their homes. Dulux Visualiser shows consumers what their walls would look like painted in different colours.

Euromonitor predicts that global internet retailing value sales will increase by 13 per cent this year, with ‘try before you buy’ experiences becoming more important.

Alison Angus, Euromonitor International head of lifestyles, said AR improves the consumer experience, which is important for online retailers looking to compete with bricks-and-mortar.

“Augmented reality…provides a more lifelike view of the items and facilitates operational efficiencies for businesses by potentially reducing return rates,” she said.

“Online captures consumers’ interest with the convenience of the hassle-free, anytime, anywhere shopping they crave. The ability to see and touch products before buying is a bonus. This is in part why the in-store shopping experience remains appealing, and in 2017, 88 per cent of global sales in value terms were still made in-store.”

Euromonitor Internationals’ top 10 global consumer trends for 2018:

  • Clean lifers
  • The borrowers
  • Call out culture
  • It’s in the DNA – I’m so special
  • Adaptive entrepreneurs
  • View in my roomers
  • Sleuthy shoppers
  • Co-living
  • I-Designers
  • The survivors


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