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New trends: Unpicking the future of commerce

The tendency is for consumers to make statements with their brand selection.

China August retail sales growth slowest in a year
Retail sales grew 2.5 percent last month, well short of the seven percent forecast and sharply down from the 8.5 percent witnessed in July - Copyright AFP/File NICOLAS ASFOURI
Retail sales grew 2.5 percent last month, well short of the seven percent forecast and sharply down from the 8.5 percent witnessed in July - Copyright AFP/File NICOLAS ASFOURI

Over the past year and a half, society has been subjected to a number of unprecedented traumas; a pandemic, increasing political divide in the U.S., and civil challenges to the status quo.

These factors have, given the interconnectedness of things, influenced the way consumers shop and even accelerated some of this year’s biggest trends. In particular, it seems that in some sectors consumers want a bigger say in product and category development. This is borne out from a new survey – the second annual Nine by Nine report by Future Commerce.

Other trends drawn out from the survey are the tendency these days for consumers to make statements with their brand selection. In addition, they are seeking ‘true’ omnichannel experiences.

The Future Commerce report (produced by the retail media research startup) examines the nine biggest trends shaping the future of retail and rates the brands that came out on top in 2021 as change-makers and innovators.

With these trends, it is also notable that an understanding of diversity is of importance. In particular, brands can no longer claim ignorance when it comes to incorporating the myriad expressions of gender, race, ethnicity, body shape/size and abilities into the fabric of their organization.

Examples of proactive actions from the report include creating gender-neutral products to using plus sized models. As examples, Fenty and Girlfriend Collective are leaders in DEI.

The report also assesses technological innovation. With momentum in blockchain technology, there are endless possibilities for digital societies with fully functioning economies. As examples, Ethereum, Discord and Bored Ape Yacht Club are helping pave the way.

It is also apparent consumers are increasingly occupying ‘the attention economy’. The challenge of today’s attention economy is increasingly one where the consumer product costs virtually nothing to reproduce and the problem facing the supplier of the product lies in adding valuable intangibles that cannot be reproduced at any cost. For instance, with so much music streamed the value is more likely connected with ‘being found’ than the actual music track itself.

Brands like Tesla and Liquid Death are using commerce as their canvas and leveraging absurdism to make their voices heard, as apparent in new and diverse forms of marketing and advertising campaigns.

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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