The future of retail

This year Future Report and Inizio investigate digital shopping habits among millennials in Sweden, France and Spain. Turns out webrooming has been a bit overestimated.

Traditional retail is going through rapid change. Online, offline, logistics and data are about to be integrated, fueled by tech like location data and augmented reality (AR). Jack Ma, former CEO of Alibaba, coined the term “New Retail” to describe this future of commerce. In this year’s edition of Future Report we explore the field in a survey among millennials in Sweden, Spain and France. We find that the mobile phone is the obvious way of shopping. About half prefer the mobile when they search for information about a service or a product.

55 percent of millennials in France, Sweden and Spain prefer to use smartphones when looking for information about goods and services.

Voice is a technology well-placed to develop. A quarter of millennials in Spain use it but only a few in Sweden. Sweden is lagging behind when it comes to launching devices, probably because the language is small. Many say they plan to buy a device, so the user base will grow. There is a considerable user base on mobiles too, another path to unlock voice commerce.  Overall, how fast this field will develop should depend on how companies like Amazon and Alibaba, having their Echo and Genie hardware to draw upon, will choose to focus their business. Social commerce describes different online collaborative shopping tools in social media such as user ratings, recommendations or sponsored content by friends or influencers. The potential has been widely discussed and it is most widely spread in Spain, where 71 percent have bought something based on this, compared to 58 percent in France and 47 percent in Sweden.

Webrooming and showrooming have been debated a lot. Showrooming can be defined as a shopper visiting a store to check out a product but then purchasing the product online. Webrooming is when a shopper researches products online but buys it in a store. Our survey shows that webrooming seems to be a stronger trend, even though a lot of shopping is happening exclusively online among millennials. We are still surprised to see that shopping in stores is still going strong, not only for consumable products. Not every retail category is as likely to see a jump in changing behavior.

Here’s more insights from the survey: Insight story – full report