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The future of retail in the US: industry trends and market trends

Retail sales volume was higher in 2019 than ever before — and it will only continue trending upward as the entire experience becomes more streamlined and frictionless for customers. However, the face of the industry is changing rapidly; Business Insider Intelligence recently reported that in 2019 ecommerce sales surpassed 10% of total retail sales for the first time ever.

us total retail sales
Retail sales volume continues to grow Copyright © 2020 eMarketer Inc.
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The growing online trend impacts both e-tailers and brick-and-mortar sellers. Because merchants must embrace ecommerce to boost their own growth, the roles of solutions providers like BigCommerce and Shopify, as well as marketplaces like Amazon, could expand further in the coming years, due to their ability to help merchants without the resources to develop their own ecommerce platforms to begin selling online.

Between the growth of ecommerce and new digital technologies and the rise of alternative models like direct-to-consumer and brandless brands, there's been a shift in focus toward the overall shopper experience. Despite the growing ease of the shopping experience, however, there are still larger social, political, and economic factors at play with fears of a potential recession looming.

In fact, eMarketer estimates total US retail sales are expected to grow 2.0% to $5.574 trillion in 2020, representing a deceleration of the retail market amid rising economic uncertainty. All of these factors are forcing brick-and-mortar businesses to innovate like never before — or risk losing their customers. 

eMarketer has been tracking trends in the retail market, analyzing data and interviewing industry experts, to put together its annual Future of Retail 2020 research report. Below is a preview of the top retail trends to know in 2020.

  1. Direct-to-Consumer Brands Will Go Mainstream
  2. Frictionless Commerce Will Speed Up Traditional Retail Transactions
  3. Brandless Brands Will Begin to Surge
  4. Social Commerce Will Shine Mid-Funnel
  5. Shoppable Video & Voice Technology Will Grow
  6. The Battle for Faster Delivery Will Accelerate Ecommerce
  7. The Rise of 'Retail as a Service' for Both Ecommerce and Brick-and-Mortar
  8. Increased Subscription Commerce & Building Customer Loyalty for Growth
  9. The Rise of Recommerce (Resale of Secondhand Goods)
  10. Digital Installment Payment Plans Will Become More Popular in a Tight Economy

More to Learn

With a presently strong economy – but potential recession looming – understanding not merely the top retail trends, but also the underlying reasons for each of them is crucial to gaining an advantage in a fiercely competitive industry. Read the full report to learn more about how major retail industry trends will affect your business.

Interested in the full Future of Retail 2020 report and getting more content like this each day? eMarketer PRO features in-depth analyst reports, proprietary forecasts, customizable charts, and more.

Click here to inquire about access, or check to see if your company already subscribes to eMarketer PRO.

More: emarketer BI Intelligence Retail Insider Intelligence
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