The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated four fundamental retail trends, according to a report by the international accounting firm KPMG.
The trends indicate how retail markets are changing and how retailers are preparing for a new reality once the disease stops spreading or a vaccine is discovered.
Here’s a summary of the firm’s conclusions:
- Business models are evolving. The days of driving growth from physical stores alone have passed their peak. Companies are turning to online platforms to generate new growth.
- It’s about more than sales. Companies are spending more time paying attention to social and political causes. It cites a 2018 study by Edelman that found that nearly two-thirds of consumers worldwide said they would decide to either buy or boycott a brand based solely on its position on a social or political issue.
- Rethinking the cost of doing business. Most retailers recognize that conventional forms of cost cutting are no longer enough to shore up margins and rebuild the business. KPMG expects to see a flurry of investments focused on improving the value of existing assets over the coming year.
- Customer choice has come under the microscope. In today’s environment, customers care less about breadth of assortment and more about availability. As customers have experienced prolonged shortages of items during the pandemic, companies who know their customers best and can supply them with products they want will have the best chance of recovering after the pandemic.