Top Retail Trends of 2023 & 2022
Our hand-picked collection of the top retail trends of 2023 & 2022. The topics in this report on today’s emerging retail trends are selected for their high growth across sites including Google, TikTok, Instagram, Reddit, Twitter, YouTube, and Amazon. Read more about how we track global trends.
Elf Bar is a popular brand of disposable vapes that comes in a range of flavors including mint, strawberry, blueberry, etc. The brand also offers pre-filled pod kits, rechargeable pod devices, and refillable pod kits. … Read more
Swiggy Instamart is an online grocery delivery service that allows users to order food and grocery items for delivery. The service offers a wide selection of items, including fresh produce, meat, and dairy products. … Read more
Meesho is a social commerce platform for small businesses in India. The platform enables businesses to sell products and services online and provides a channel for customers to buy from local merchants. … Read more
SKIMS is a US-based DTC apparel and fashion brand that primarily offers underwear, bras, loungewear, and shapewear. It also offers other types of clothing including dresses, bodysuits, hoodies, and leggings. The brand is co-founded by Kim Kardashian, Emma Grede, and Jens Grede. … Read more
Zenleaf is a leading manufacturer and distributor of a wide range of CBD products for health and wellness. The company's products include CBD honey sticks, CBD for pets, and CBD energy boosters. … Read more
Fruugo is a global online marketplace that allows users to buy products from different stores all in one place. The site offers a wide variety of products, from electronics to clothes to home goods, and users can compare prices and read reviews to make the best purchase decisions. … Read more
DashMart is an online delivery-only grocery and convenience store by DoorDash. It offers a wide variety of products, including local produce, convenience items, snacks, and other food-related products from its partner restaurants. … Read more
Wethenew is a France-based platform for buying and selling authentic limited-edition sneakers and streetwear. The platform guarantees that the products are new, authentic and are free of defects. … Read more
Loyverse is a cloud-based point-of-sale (POS) system that allows businesses to manage their sales operations from a single platform. The system offers features such as inventory management, customer management, and reporting tools, as well as integrations with other business applications. … Read more
Faire Wholesale is a wholesale marketplace that specializes in connecting local businesses with consumers by providing them with the right tools and technologies. The company offers a wide range of products, including home goods, fashion, and food. Faire was started by Max Rhodes, Daniele Perito, Marcelo Cortes, Jeffrey Kolovson, and Lauren Cooks Levitan in 2017. … Read more
Phygital is a portmanteau of the words physical and digital. Phygital is used to describe the increasingly blurred lines between the physical and digital worlds. Phygital experiences can include using augmented reality to interact with digital objects in the physical world or using a digital device to control physical objects. … Read more
OrderChamp is an Amsterdam-based online wholesale marketplace that connects independent retailers and brands across Europe. The platform allows retailers to source unique products from brands and purchase at low order minimums and with flexible payment options. … Read more
Customer Insights refer to the understanding of customer needs and wants, and the use of that information to create or improve products, services, or marketing strategies. Insights can be gleaned from a variety of sources, including customer feedback, surveys, focus groups, and data analysis. … Read more
Live selling is the process of selling goods or services to customers in real time, as opposed to selling through a pre-recorded medium such as television or the internet. Live selling allows customers to interact with the seller and ask questions about the product or service. … Read more
Shopee is a mobile and online shopping platform that is based in Singapore. The platform offers a wide range of products, including electronics, home goods, and fashion. … Read more
Mercari is a mobile app that allows users to buy and sell items from each other. The app has a wide variety of items for sale, including clothes, electronics, and home goods. The app is available in the United States, Japan, and Brazil, and has been downloaded by over 100 million users. … Read more
Modern Milkman is a UK-based platform for farm-fresh grocery delivery without any single-use plastics. The company is known for its plastic free advocacy with its products in returnable glass bottles, glass refills, or returnable metal caddies. The platform is a three-sided marketplace comprised of its customers, suppliers, and delivery drivers. … Read more
Gopuff is an online store that delivers convenience store items to the customer's doorstep. The store offers a wide variety of items, from snacks and drinks to home goods and pet supplies. … Read more
Trulieve is a Florida-based company that produces and sells medical cannabis products. The company is one of the first in the state to be licensed to do so and is known for their high-quality products. … Read more
Surterra is a cannabis company that produces and sells CBD products. The company is one of the largest cannabis producers in the United States and is known for its high-quality products. … Read more
Trend Highlight – The Rise of Virtual On-Demand Convenience Stores: Gopuff
With convenience stores accounting for a whopping 3.1% of U.S. GDP in 2019, Gopuff is making strategic moves in this century-old industry.
For convenience stores, fuel and cigarettes account for the large majority of sales. But while restocking on fuel or cigarettes is what brings many customers in, the margins are lower with these products than with food, beverages, and medicine. Food alone, while only accounting for just over 1/5th of in-store sales in 2017 ($53B), brought in more than 1/3rd of the profit, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores.
As a result, Gopuff — similar to a DoorDash for convenience stores — targets food and wellness products often found at convenience stores. In 2019, the Gopuff app went from 275k monthly downloads in June to 350k monthly downloads in August and is the 22nd most popular iPhone app in the food and drink category.
The potential impact here is significant, as over half the US population visits a convenience store on a daily basis.
Instead of buying products directly from the 150,000+ convenience stores around the country like Instacart does with grocery stores, Gopuff maintains a network of 700 warehouses in around 1,200 cities and college campuses. This gives them more control over pricing and makes their business more defensible at the price of making it potentially harder to scale.
The app's use among college students, who are often using their purchasing power for the very first time, is very attractive to the brands Gopuff buys from.
And as this is happening, the line between snacks and meals is blurring. Research shows that consumers are eating more meals at non-standard times and that snacks now account for over half the times younger generations eat.
Through ordering via the app, the company is also bypassing the stigma users may fear when buying certain products. Gopuff highlights the relatively high order volume for Plan B as an indicator of this.
Trend Highlight – The Surging Popularity of Live Selling
America’s fastest-growing marketplace looks more like a social app than a shopping site. In fact, many of the participants aren’t even there to buy, they’re there to be entertained.
It’s called Whatnot: a live-selling site founded just 3 years ago and recently valued at nearly $4B. The site holds auctions alongside a live group chat, strategically combining two of the most powerful levers in conversion: social proof and urgency.
With similar dynamics to live, in-person auctions, Whatnot buyers are heavily influenced by other buyers’ excitement as the auction escalates. What’s more, the perception that there’s a large crowd, all going after the same product, reinforces trust and appeal. And the numbers are impressive: engagement metrics resemble that of a social app while conversion metrics match that of a high-performing ecommerce marketplace.
While live selling is a growing phenomenon in the US, it’s been exploding in China for years. For the first time, in 2020, Chinese live-streamed shopping GMV ($137B) surpassed total US digital ad spend ($135B). Many in the space see it, and its slew of competitors, as retail-killer apps.
Trend Highlight – Why Independent Retail Shops & Wholesale Marketplaces Are Thriving
Ironically, Amazon’s push for faster and faster shipping is, in some cases, working against them. In many ultra-urban landscapes, local stores can effectively offer near-instant delivery because their stores are essentially fulfillment centers.
And while Amazon’s rise knocked out many rivals who competed on price, it actually in some ways created more room for those who don’t compete on price. More specifically, Amazon’s rise led in large part to the bankruptcy of Borders in 2011 and caused Barnes & Noble to drastically cut its retail footprint. But independent bookstores fared well during the same timeframe. The number of independent US bookstores grew by roughly 50% from 2009 to 2018.
OrderChamp - a wholesale marketplace for independent shops - was built on the notion that independent retail will not only endure, but can thrive despite changing conditions. With the transition to an online world, independent retailers will need a number of tools to support their growth.
A similar company, Ankorstore, creatively solves several other supply chain problems too. By setting order minimums based on total order size rather than order volume from a single seller, Ankorstore replicates the economics of the food delivery company Chowbus, which lets customers order from several different restaurants in one order (so they can buy dinner at one place and a drink at another, for example). This means that sellers whose minimum order quantity is close to the Ankorestore minimum can still get orders, while stores aren't stuck with more inventory than they can sell. Smaller order sizes allow stores to experiment with new products they aren't sure they will stock long-term.
Trend Highlight – Pallets From Amazon: A Fast-Growing Micro-Industry
Nearly half a trillion dollars worth of consumer goods are returned every year, 25% of which happens right after the holidays— and as ecommerce return windows lengthen in an effort to compete with retail, there are all sorts of secondary side effects— for example, returns are often done out of season, meaning companies must hold refurbished inventory on hand until next season, losing additional value in the process.
While only 5-10% of in-store purchases are returned, 15-40% of online purchases are returned. This dynamic has created a growing micro-industry: buying pallets of assorted returned products from stores like Amazon, and reselling the items one at a time.
It’s somewhat surprising that this industry exists, because companies like Amazon in particular are famous for squeezing out every last bit of profit. But sorting through returns, judging their quality, getting them back into the warehouse, then dealing with an inevitably higher rate of customer complaints is not profitable for Amazon.
Walmart’s 2-week return period means that their pallets of returned goods are in many cases more valuable than those from Amazon which have a 4 week return period. The longer a product is in a consumer’s possession before being returned, the more wear and tear and potential for damage.
And as ecommerce grows beyond its current meager 16% of total retail spend, and is forcefully boosted many years forward by the pandemic, the total value of returned goods will soon likely be in the trillions of dollars.
As demand for returned-item pallets rises, companies like Bstock.com and Liquidation.com are gaining in popularity. The industry’s growth has also been fueled by another phenomenon: small business influencers who turn the pallet-opening process into a video experience, similar to unboxing videos. Liquidation pallets have surprises built in: there’s a mix of products, some exciting because they’re valuable, some exciting because they’re strange.
Trend Highlight – Why Weee Is So Popular
Walmart has positioned itself so that 90% of Americans live within ten miles of one of their stores. But despite the country’s biggest brands’ strategic intentions, the grocery industry has largely not responded to an increasingly diverse American population.
Retailers like Weee are filling a gap left by traditional supermarkets whose “ethnic aisles” don’t fully serve the needs of America's fastest-growing racial group: Asians.
Weee started with Asian groceries, before expanding focus to the Hispanic population, and aims to become America’s ethnic grocery store, as America becomes increasingly diverse. Meanwhile, ethnic cooking in general is getting more popular; Google Ngram search results for ingredients like enoki mushrooms show a steadily rising trend from the 1980s onward.
On the Weee website, more than 60% of traffic is direct, meaning it’s from a bookmark or a user typing in the URL, highlighting Weee’s strong retention. Grocery shopping is naturally frequent and the company reports an average of almost 6 orders per month.
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