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Retail at an Inflection Point: Consumer Research 2021

Our new consumer research surveys 5,700 global consumers. It identifies the curvature of change in consumer behavior, and the vectors underpinning the shifts we see in retail, to dial in on what is simply a function of change and what is a constant. The research analyzes a retail landscape forever changed by examining the current inflection point, the ensuing supply chain dilemma, and the ultimate shopping effect.

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Global consumer shopping trends

After months of disruption, change has become not only a constant but the norm in retail, with no expectation of slowing down. As we close out 2021, we find ourselves not looking back, nor ahead at the change to come, but at an inflection point—ready to ride the next wave and embrace adaptation. In a world turned upside down by a global pandemic, myriad behaviors, habits, and norms are now unrecognizable compared to just a year and a half ago.

Retail supply chain concerns

34% of consumers continue to agree that out-of-stock items constitute a bad shopping experience.

Alongside 'lockdown' and 'social distancing,' 'supply chain' has emerged as a pandemic watchword, calling to mind empty shelves, lengthy backorder delays, and, of course, toilet paper shortages. Now part of the consumer vernacular, rifts in the retail supply chain are spurring shopper concerns and testing patience.

Prepare for the season of gift returns

46% of consumers say they'll never shop with a retailer again following a bad return encounter.

How can retailers ensure an easy, positive gift return experience with holiday shopping approaching? Between 40% of consumers that immediately return clothing items they don’t want and 24% that are slower at returning, this year’s consumer research captured that 42% of people already plan to return some, if not all, of their holiday gifts.

Return to in-store shopping

43% of global consumers prefer to buy non-grocery items in-store in 2021.

Consumers are eager to get back to prepandemic shopping, which, for many, is in-store. New journeys made popular last year like BOPIS are a great way for retailers and associates to continue interactions with customers. While safety precautions remain high on consumers’ list of wants and needs, retailers can expect an increase of in-store shoppers, especially as holiday shopping approaches.

2020 retail consumer trends

Understanding consumer behavior in 2020

A global look at key retail trends and consumer expectations.

A Closer Look at EMEA in 2019

A closer look at EMEA in 2020

Gain a quick view of the key retail trends and consumer expectations in EMEA.

A Closer Look at JAPAC in 2019

A closer look at APAC in 2020

Gain a quick view of the key retail trends and consumer expectations in APAC.

A Closer Look at Latin America in 2019

A closer look at Latin America in 2020

Gain a quick view of the key retail trends and consumer expectations in Latin America.

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