The biggest trends in the retail industry

Shoppers in the United States spent 7 trillion U.S. dollars with retail businesses in 2022, compared to 4.3 trillion U.S. dollars in 2012. The biggest jump was after 2020: a massive increase from 5.5 trillion that year to 6.5 trillion in 2021.1

Organizations that don’t engage with these retail industry trends, and recognize how consumer preferences have changed, risk falling behind and losing business.

  1. E-commerce and online shopping

    With more American consumers shopping online than ever before, total e-commerce sales in 2022 were estimated to be work $1034.1 billion, which is 7.7% higher than in 2021 2.

    Mobile devices are driving a significant percentage of this – 43% of e-commerce sales in 2023 were made on mobile devices.3 The growth of online shopping is frequently happening on a small screen, with shoppers looking for convenience, time-saving transactions, and security on the move.

    The most successful mobile e-commerce experiences are fully optimized to accept payments online on any screen, with buttons and navigation features which are easy to see and use.

    Shoppers also want to see all the security badges and trust signals they’re used to on desktop, from payment methods they recognize to reassurance that their payment data will be secure. Ultimately, online buyers are looking to check out in as few steps as possible, so the more prominent and clickable those Buy Now buttons and CTAs are, the better.

  2. Personalization and customer experience

    The experience of buying matters to customers, almost as much as what they’re buying.

    According to data and analytics research by Honey and WBR Insights, surveyed retail and ecommerce businesses have been making loyalty and rewards programs an important part of their business. They plan to continue working on this over the next three years.4

    Nurturing loyal customers is a wise move – it’s well established that retaining and incentivizing existing customers is more cost-effective than trying to win new ones. According to research by Shopify, shoppers surveyed in 2020 wanted early access to sales and new products, as well as tailored offers and recommendations based on their buying behavior and preferences.5

    Customers also want access to in-person self-service shopping features and automation, which reduce their need to interact with staff and wait for queries to be answered. This includes inventory checking through QR codes, self-service touchscreen checkouts, ‘buy online, pick up in store’ (BOPIS) and ‘buy online, return in store’ (BORIS) services.

  3. Sustainability and social responsibility

    Customers want to align themselves with businesses which are a force for good. It’s increasingly important to shoppers to see retail brands demonstrating social awareness and sharing responsibility for change in society. This is particularly important to Millennials and Generation Z, who tend to be those most engaged with social and environmental activism and sustainable retail.6

    Greater sustainability in retail means merchants need to make a clear effort to reduce plastic usage and waste. 76% of shoppers surveyed in Shorr’s 2022 Sustainable Packaging Customer Report say they’re making a conscious effort to make sustainable purchases.6 These shoppers are looking for minimal packaging, low-carbon supply chains, and products made with sustainable processes and materials. 1 in 3 have even avoided purchasing from specific brands because the packaging used is not clearly sustainable.6

    Online and in-person shoppers are also looking for brands to demonstrate their commitment to positive labor practices, diversity, equality and inclusion, charitable giving, and socially conscious corporate policies.7

  4. Frictionless checkout

    Whether they’re buying online or in person, customers expect a seamless checkout experience. Adding items to their cart, choosing shipping, creating accounts (or not!), and using their preferred payment methods should be effortless.

    Flexible payment options are growing in importance for Generation Z and Millennials too, from buy now, pay later (BNPL) to omnichannel payment options like Venmo.8 By empowering consumers to choose their favorite way to pay, merchants can increase average cart sizes and reduce checkout abandonment.

    A frictionless checkout experience is going to be a crucial retail trend for in-person shopping too. Contactless payment and QR code payments can help merchants reach physical customers quickly and securely, with no need for cash or physical cards.


The retail industry trends expected in 2023 and beyond include prioritizing sustainable practices, developing a seamless checkout experience, and personalizing the customer experience with smart data.

If your organization wants to access an audience of engaged shoppers, it’s essential to provide easy opportunities to buy on desktop and mobile.

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