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Retail Consumer Insights

Wine Shops
Restaurants convert to bottle shops in the wake of COVID-19
Trend - Restaurants across Toronto have been closed for nearly a year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. To survive the economic turmoil, many have shifted into curated wine shops offering unique selections of vino to locals. These establishments offer a unique ambiance and aesthetic that replicates the experience of "going out."

Insight - The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the shopping and entertainment habits of many consumers. Accessing goods shifted from causal grocery store outings and shopping trips to curbside pickups and online delivery. As a result, consumers feel a nostalgic need to revisit the activities of their pre-pandemic life, seeking an excuse to be seen and interact safely with others.
Workshop Question - How can your business pivot to meet the nostalgic needs of consumers?
5.4
Score
Popularity
Activity
Freshness
Patterns
Megatrends
Virtual Changing
Virtual fitting rooms are growing in popularity amidst the pandemic
Trend - Virtual fitting rooms are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to in-person fitting rooms, particularly as the ongoing pandemic has put restrictions on in-person shopping. Now, consumers are able to see how clothing may look on them without having to worry about hygiene or being inconvenienced.

Insight - As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact people's lifestyles, a change in customer psyche has already occurred. Things like prioritizing hygiene and being weary in public spaces may take some time for consumers to let go of even post-pandemic, if they can let go of it at all, and so brands are having to look into long-term changes they can make to adapt to this shift.
Workshop Question - What long-term pandemic-related changes could your brand better adapt to?
7.4
Score
Popularity
Activity
Freshness
Patterns
Megatrends
Shoppable Room
Brands are utilizing virtual home experiences as a medium for retail
Trend - Companies are launching virtual home shopping experiences to market products during the COVID-19 era. These gamified platforms are engaging with playful interactivity and comfort aesthetics that entertain consumers and also allow for the visualization of a product in one's space.

Insight - As government-imposed COVID-19 measures are highly restrictive to brick-and-mortar retail, individuals have turned to online shopping for their daily needs—whether that is because they want to play it safe or save themselves the hassle. Aware of the potentials of technology in virtual environments, many are looking for digital experiences that are immersive and this demand arises from a consumer need for entertaining distractions during a difficult time.
Workshop Question - Conceptualize an immersive retail experience for online environments.
8.4
Score
Popularity
Activity
Freshness
Patterns
Megatrends
Eco Retailer
Brands offer eco-friendly in-store designs and solutions
Trend - To show their commitment to environmental issues, some brands are implementing eco-friendly designs and solutions in their stores. These include everything from plastic bans to using solar-powered energy.

Insight - As consumers' concern for climate change and its consequences grows, they're turning their expectations onto brands rather than just themselves in making a postive change. Understanding that ecological issues are caused more by institutional factors than they are individual actions, consumers are increasingly expecting that brands make changes to lessen their impact on the environment.
Workshop Question - How is your brand lessening its environmental impact?
7.8
Score
Popularity
Activity
Freshness
Patterns
Megatrends
Solar-Powered Retail
Solar energy is increasingly utilized by the retail and restaurant industries
Trend - Retail and dining establishments are moving brick-and-mortar spaces that are fully powered by solar energy. In doing so, companies are successful in minimizing harmful energy use, while simultaneously catering to the concerns of the eco consumer.

Insight - Many consumers—especially Millennials and Gen Z—are conscious about the state of the environment, and the threat of pollution and climate change. As such, individuals are continuously emphasizing the importance of sustainable decisions and are taking it upon themselves to hold brands accountable. Through this activism, consumers are experiencing peace of mind for taking care of the environment, and as a result, are drawn to brands that reflect similar values.
Workshop Question - How can your brand better cater to the eco consumer?
7.6
Score
Popularity
Activity
Freshness
Patterns
Megatrends
Specialty DTC
Consumers interested in specialty grocery goods do so through direct channels
Trend - Consumer groups with more disposable income, specifically Boomers and members of Generation X, have shown an increased interest in specialty grocery recently. Ordering these items through DTC channels allows access to these goods while adhering to the social distancing rules in many parts of the world.

Insight - Though the DTC movement has quite a few perceived benefits, including its eco-friendliness and convenience, receiving specialty goods directly from their source also creates an additional sense of authenticity. This added authenticity is especially attractive to affluent consumers who are willing to pay a premium for top-tier products.
Workshop Question - How can you position your product or service as more exclusive?
6
Score
Popularity
Activity
Freshness
Patterns
Megatrends
App-Powered Store
Brands in China are partnering with WeChat for experiential in-store experiences
Trend - The use of WeChat to create in-store shopping experiences that feature digital experiences and enhancements is on the rise in China. These partnerships allow for more seamless interactions considering the prevalance of the WeChat app--allowing customers to engage in-store without having to download any additional apps.

Insight - Experiential shopping is a growing focus for retailers as they enhance their understanding of how younger Millennials and Gen Z shop. These demographics are more likely to be drawn to brands that engage them using the same digital habits that they use on a regular basis.
Workshop Question - How is your brand catering to the digital habits of younger demographics?
7.3
Score
Popularity
Activity
Freshness
Patterns
Megatrends
Retail Escape
Opportunities for creative presentation are abundant in virtual environments
Trend - The online environment breaks the boundaries of aesthetic imagination, enabling the existence of various compositions and ethereal landscapes that would otherwise be impossible. As retail brands are pivoting to an all-digital strategy due to COVID-19, many are embracing these advantages.

Insight - The desire for escapism is potent in contemporary consumers who live fast-paced, technologically enhanced lifestyles. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated travel restrictions, many don't have the opportunity or are finding it increasingly difficult to take a break and enjoy a change of scenery. Since many are conscious that non-essential traveling is strongly discouraged, consumers are looking for ways to escape with the help of their imagination.
Workshop Question - How can your brand enhance its digital presence during COVID-19?
7.1
Score
Popularity
Activity
Freshness
Patterns
Megatrends
Refined Returns
Brands are making it easier for consumers to return items amid COVID-19
Trend - The COVID-19 pandemic has fueled a surge in online sales, prompting an increase in online return needs. To accommodate this emerging need, many brands are leveraging strategic partnerships to enable streamlined return solutions that include return shopping lockers, at-home return pickup options, and multi-brand return centers.

Insight - Due to the ongoing global pandemic, many consumers are avoiding unnecessary trips to stores, prompting a surge in online shopping. Since online shoppers are unable to see and try-on items in-store, many are hesitant to make the same purchases they traditionally would at a physical location. Moreover, the daunting task of trying to return these items–especially amid fluctuating shopping restrictions–poses another barrier for consumers. As such, consumers are drawn to brands that offer streamlined shopping solutions.
Workshop Question - How can your brand anticipate consumer barriers to purchasing amid fluctuating shopping restrictions?
5.1
Score
Popularity
Activity
Freshness
Patterns
Megatrends
One-to-One Retail
Stores serve one customer at a time to give safe, ultra-custom experiences
Trend - The retail industry has seen a lot of transformation in light of the pandemic. One recent development is the growth of storefronts or services dedicated to limiting the shopping experience to two people: the retail worker and the customer. This is being executed virtually as well as in person and has the benefits of both safety and full personalization.

Insight - The idea of personalized, consultant-based services in the retail industry is not necessarily new; however, because it is more specialized and doesn't maximize employee time, it has historically been a service reserved for luxury big-ticket purchases. This model's safety benefits make it an attractive option to make accessible for all in the new normal. In addition to reducing face time, one-to-one experiences also grant consumers a relationship-fueled experience.
Workshop Question - How will you satisfy the opposing consumer need for experience and safety in the new normal?
6
Score
Popularity
Activity
Freshness
Patterns
Megatrends