[Paris Retail Week] Changing retail in the face of a world in crisis – Barometer & Study > Retail

Among the concerns of retail professionals, Covid was relegated to the background. In France, most health measures were suspended and replaced by measures to support inflation. As a result, inflation worries professionals three times more. Covid 19 is the main cause of concern for just 16% of retailers worldwide. In France, no retailer ranks Covid as the first source of concern. However, the situation is quite different in China, where 75% of retailers remain particularly concerned, with cities in lockdown until this summer.

HASonline chats, contactless payment, click and collect and ingrained omnichannel user experience

In France, 2 out of 3 retailers consider clicking and picking as deeply ingrained in consumer habits. In recent months, retailers have reinforced measures they began to implement during the health crisis. 26% reinforced click-and-pick services and 48% fast delivery and return services.

Distributors go even further: almost 50% of them consider delivery, click and collect, drive and return to local as models that will continue to redefine the future of the company.

Inflation and scarcity, sources of concern

Inflation is the number one concern for more than half of retailers worldwide.

93% of professionals in the sector even declare that inflation has an impact on their business.

Faced with inflation, they are forced to make choices: increase your prices (89%), decrease your margins (67%), decrease your spend on materials (66%), decrease your spending on human resources (60%), freeze or decrease your investments in advertising and media (46%).

The act of purchase, a form of activism?

In the face of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, 55% of retailers believe that their consumers at least partially boycott brands working in Russia. Among the countries surveyed, the British boycott them the most (80%). Today, the act of shopping is part of a form of activism, at least as far as the geopolitical situation is concerned. 19% of commerce professionals think that their customers’ consumption is a much more militant act than before. However, if the United Kingdom remains categorical in this matter (only 20% think otherwise), this lack of qualification in the remaining countries (USA, France and China) where around 40% of retailers do not consider consumption as a form of activism.

Prices, always the first argument of the trade

While in 2021, less than 1 in 2 retailers believed their consumers’ purchasing power had declined with the Covid crisis, 70% of them think so today, an increase of 25 points in a year. The situation is much more sensitive in France, where 90% of trade professionals declare it. Despite the desire to consume local, organic and healthy food after Covid, the economic situation makes the question of price remain the first expectation of those whose purchasing power has been reduced by inflation, ahead of quality, choice or delivery. fast.

For retailers, managing logistics and controlling delivery times and options were at the heart of their challenges. Today, and even though the latter are still present, the issue of prices, promotions and benefits for customers is at the forefront.

Retailers at War

To combat the effects of inflation while helping consumers, retailers are considering creating a new loyalty program (23% very likely) along with aggressive discounts (17%). 27% of retailers worldwide have “discounted” their product line. According to retailers, the most effective action to develop their turnover in the future is through low price commitments (38%). In France, up to 57% think so. This is followed by the offer of special offers to consumers (33%).

Main commercial competitors

Similar to last year, two categories of competitors are seen as threatening to most global retailers. On the one hand, the techno-natives and firstly Amazon, followed by Google, Meta and Alibaba. On the other hand, brands that have a global positioning based on discounts, such as Walmart and Lidl. 59% of retailers also believe that Amazon is the model to follow to ensure the successful development of their business, followed by Google and Walmart (25%). In France, 69% of retailers see Amazon as a role model.

New growth levers

The successive crises led companies to think about new growth models. 42% of retailers say they have implemented contextual commerce/content commerce elements. 38% also signed partnerships in recent months. This is the case, for example, of stores-in-stores, widely used by the brands of the Mulliez group. 33% also embarked on social commerce.

Finally, 16% of retailers believe the subscription/rental model is a trend that will redefine the future of their industry. As such, Decathlon has recently launched into equipment rental.

Pursue digital and virtual transformation

If the issue of prices and inflation is at the center of all discussions, the digitization of commerce, although relayed in second place, continues to accelerate. Retailers believe that click-and-take, contactless payment or the omnichannel user experience has permanently become part of our habits after crises. In recent months, they have greatly strengthened the digital systems they had implemented since 2020. As such, pursuing digital and virtual transformation remains the most important project for more than 1 in 2 retailers.

In the future, 54% of them intend to invest more in digital (e-commerce, social commerce, etc.) and this rises to 67% in France. Finally, one in four retailers believe that digital activations are the most effective way to build their revenue in the future (behind only low price commitments and special offers to consumers).

A more sustainable and local model

More than a quarter of industry professionals believe that local consumption has become an enduring part of our habits. More than one in three retailers make “return to local” the trend that will redefine the future of their business (43% for French retailers). Finally, half of the retailers surveyed believe they should transform their model to offer a sustainable and eco-friendly offering.

Web3: China and the rest of the world

Web3 intrigues retailers. Whether some are throwing themselves headlong into creating their own metaverse or installing a “corner” in an open-world video game, others remain skeptical to say the least. There is a dichotomy between China and France that forms two extremes. On the one hand 95% of trade professionals in China believe that metaverses and cryptos are structuring issues for their activity compared to 50 and 59%, respectively, in France.
And 83% of trade professionals in China see cryptocurrencies as promising for their business.

And technological innovations

41% of French retailers do not think that metaverses are a structuring phenomenon for our society. 1 in 3 are skeptical about the problem and 6 in 10 think it’s just a buzzword. As for cryptocurrencies, half of retailers don’t think they are structuring themselves for their business and in the same way. 65% of them think it’s just a fad. More than 1 in 3 retailers do not consider superapps, autonomous delivery, virtual fitting rooms or augmented reality to be promising innovations.

Methodology:

Havas Commerce survey conducted August 4-September 9, 2022 on a sample of 305 leading commerce professionals from 15 countries with a focus on 4 key markets: France, UK, US and China. This research was carried out based on a corpus of 37 questions.

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