Thoughts | Guy Hepplewhite - Head of Brand Communications

2020 Retail Intro: What's the future

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452,000 Tweets. 900,000 Facebook log-ins. 990,000 Tinder swipes. 1.8m Snapchat Snaps created. Over 70,000 hours watched on Netflix. 3.5m Google search queries. 4.1m YouTube videos viewed. 75 Amazon Echo voice-first devices shipped. And over £750k spent online.

So what?

Well, all of the above have happened in the internet minute it’s taken you to read to here. And they’ll keep on happening, just faster and faster; more and more.

That’s astonishing in its own right.

Now consider the fact that none of the channels and brands I’ve detailed in that opening para existed at the start of this century just 17 years ago. And that’s without mentioning the likes of Instagram, the Cloud, Uber, Skype, AirBnB, Deliveroo, JustEat, Tesla, Google Earth, NFC, the Human Genome Project, the seedless watermelon – the list goes on. The point I’m making is that predicting the future has never been easy – just ask Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, the writers of Back to the Future. And, if the speed of change is truly exponential, then predicting the future will only ever get harder to achieve.

Oh well, nothing like taking a jump out of today’s frying pan and into the fire of the future…

What follows is a brief journey covering just four developments that I believe will impact the world of retail and the way we’ll go about buying and shopping (they’re fundamentally different but more of that later). It’s not a definitive list. How could it be without reference to the rise of a cashless society, the inevitable growth of personalisation, curation and customisation and the replacement of Millennials with so-called Gen Z as the predominant retail buying force of the future? We’ll save those for a next time. Instead, this series will look briefly at:

 

 

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