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Columns5 Trends Shaping the Global Retail Landscape

5 Trends Shaping the Global Retail Landscape

Retail Insights
An image of Stewart Samuel

As the pace of change in the grocery industry continues to accelerate, we highlight the five trends shaping the global grocery landscape this year.

Growth of in-store retail media

Retail media sits at the top of the retail agenda in 2024. Although we have seen significant online retail media developments, the next wave of growth will be driven by in-store retail media, with technology advances enabling personalization at the shelf edge. But while the development of retail media networks is seemingly a triple win – good for retailers, brands and shoppers – there is a risk of disconnect between merchants, category advisors and retail media teams. A joined-up approach is essential.

The efficiency imperative

The inflationary backdrop in most markets has driven an increase in production costs and retail prices. Meanwhile, the collective actions of central banks have increased borrowing costs, pressurizing businesses and consumers. This has led to an intense focus on driving out costs, improving efficiencies and delivering value to consumers in new ways, focused across the entire supply chain. Retailers are looking to low-tech and high-tech ways to reduce wage bills and drive improvements to enhance efficiency. But retailers must tread a fine line between removing costs and diminishing the in-store experience.

The promise of technology

Navigating the dynamic retail tech landscape, from AI to robotics, offers promise and challenges. Areas of focus this year include using technology to combat rising shrink, making stores more sustainable and continuing to explore the benefits of generative AI. Retailers should focus on aligning their investments with business goals and look at using technology to enable change in the areas that matter most.

Strategies for a fitter future

The growing relevance of health and offering healthier products and related services is a long-term trend in retail. There are many opportunities for retail to align with consumer needs and positively champion different aspects of health. The reward is building loyalty and becoming a trusted supporter for people aspiring to make healthier choices in their daily lives.

Sustainability: time to deliver

Like health, sustainability has been on our trends list for several years. This year, we expect to see retailers move at a faster pace or reset expectations. With retailers working towards delivering 2025 sustainability commitments, 2024 will be key for being more transparent about what they are doing and why.

We have seen a push to make stores and operations more sustainable, and retailers will try to educate shoppers to get them to purchase more sustainable products and services. They will do this through in-store and online messaging, using digital media and incentive-based campaigns.

There is an opportunity for a business to seize the ground of becoming Canada’s most sustainable retailer.

Stewart Samuel is Director of Retail Futures at IGD

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