Circular retail, the High Street revival and cost-conscious consumerism tops 2023 retail trends – Sensormatic research

Circular retail prompted by sustainably-minded shoppers, a revival in bricks-and-mortar demand and continued cost-conscious consumerism by price-sensitive shoppers were among the emerging retail trends for 2023, the latest research from Sensormatic Solutions, the leading global retail solutions portfolio of Johnson Controls, reveals.

Circular retail goes even more mainstream

Original research of over 1,000 UK shoppers by Sensormatic Solutions’ Shopper Sentiment 2023 Report showed that the rising demand for sustainable retail formats, driven by Millennials and Gen Z demographics, will see circular retail go even more mainstream in 2023.

Over a quarter (28%) of UK shoppers will use second-hand or pre-loved shopping platforms as their main shopping channel this year, rising to over a third (35%) of Millennials, as sustainability remains top-of-mind.  A further half (47%) said they would consider switching to pre-loved or second-hand items to save money in 2023 in response to the cost-of-living crisis.  However, increasingly shopping second-hand appears to be a lifestyle choice rather than a budget-conscious decision; over a third (34%) of those earning over £100k a year plan to shop second-hand or pre-loved in 2023.

Meanwhile 18% of Gen Z shoppers intend to use retailers’ rental services this year – once the preserve of luxury brands, now many High Street brands, including Decathlon and Selfridges, are now offering rental services as shoppers look to consume in a more environmentally-friendly manner.  And, as the value of the ‘green pound’ rises, with the UK’s annual spend on sustainable goods reaching a record of £122bn last year alone according to the Co-op’s 2021 Ethical Consumerism report, consumers are expected to continue to ‘go green’ despite the rising cost of living.

The bricks-and-mortar revival

Sensormatic’s poll also pointed to a revival in bricks-and-mortar retail, with the store topping consumers’ main shopping channel in 2023 for 71% of UK shoppers, followed by 61% who will buy direct from retailers’ online websites and a further 60% who say they will shop online via marketplaces.  Having seen digital demand buoyed during and post-pandemic after the closure of stores in the lockdowns of 2020, the stores resurgence was evidenced in many retailers’ recent 2022 Christmas trading results.  Fashion retailer White Stuff reported store sales jumped 25% year on year in December, while Seasalt said store sales in the five weeks to 31 December 2022 were up +24% in-store, but down -2% online.

Cost-conscious consumerism remains amid economic headwinds

With the rising cost-of-living continuing to squeeze household spending budgets in 2023, price remains the top consideration for shopping in-store in 2023 for 83% of UK shoppers polled by Sensormatic.  Price is followed by product availability (56%) and the range of products offered (53%) as well as in-store promotions (43%) in the key considerations for shoppers in the year ahead.  Over eight in ten (82%) of UK shoppers intend to be more cautious with discretionary spending in 2023 in response to the rising cost-of-living, while a further three quarters (77%) said they would spend more time searching out deals and promotions to ensure they saved money where possible.

Andy Sumpter, Sensormatic’s EMEA Retail Consultant, commented:

“We’re seeing a real mixed bag of dynamics taking shape that will influence consumer behaviour in 2023.  Already a key trend, we expect to see the rise and rise of sustainable consumption.  This means retailers will need to consider how they range, but also how they evolve their green retail offer in a way that’s also sympathetic to the rising price-sensitivity amongst shoppers, which will only intensify as we head into to 2023.”

To find out more about what’s in store for retail in 2023 and the key consumer behaviours shaping new trends for the year ahead, download the report.


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