Trends Impacting the Future of the Retail Market

The retail market is a reflection of the society in which we live and in which we are increasingly faced with fast-paced, ever-present paradigm shifts, requiring a strong capacity to adapt.

Several trends are shaping the future of the retail market and new challenges need to be addressed everyday. Five are impacting it significantly.

All of us as consumers are agents of these changes which generate new dynamics in the retail sector resulting in a series of trends defining the future of the retail market.

Social media

Social media has clearly changed the way the world communicates with the sharing of ideas, information, personal messages and other content online.

This shows exactly how social media can be decisive in terms of how attitudes, motivations and consumer patterns are created and influenced.

The way in which retailers and different retail formats interact with their customers on social media in a highly competitive environment will be a decisive factor in attracting consumers to their spaces and creating new forms of the purchasing experience.

New demographics

The fact that the profile of each demographic group lies at the base of different types of consumer behaviour shows its importance in terms of retail market terms and the real estate market in general. Different generations like ‘Baby Boomers’, ‘X’, ‘Y’, and  ‘The Millennials’ work, live and shop in very different ways.

This requires the need to define specific strategies to meet the consumer needs of each of these demographic groups. Up until very recently the major focus has been on the “Baby Boomers” who account for a significant proportion of retail sales. However, as people grow older, Generations X and Y are embarking upon their main consumption years, representing an opportunity that retailers can not ignore.

Sharing Economy

Driven by the internet and generation Y, the sharing economy is already upon us with businesses such as “Uber” or “Airbnb” in the transport and tourism areas, and this is just the beginning. It is difficult to anticipate it’s full impact on the retail sector, although several retailers are taking their first steps.

With the future growth of Generation Y as one of the demographic segments with the highest purchasing power, this trend will be increasingly important for a generation whose preference for experience is greater that the ownership value of material goods.

Music and video, sports equipment and do-it-yourself are among the most popular retail categories for sharing economy consumers.


According to data supplied by the World Travel and Tourism Council, travel and tourism sector GDP was up by more than 3% in 2016, outpacing the general economy and contributing more than 10% of world GDP at around 7.6 trillion dollars while accounting for 10% of world employment.

As purchases are one of tourism’s main spending categories, growth of this industry has been the driving force behind high street retail. This trend is highly visible in Portugal, particularly in Lisbon and Porto. Tourism, however, does not only impact high street retail operations but also other areas such as shopping centres and factory outlets in their endeavours to provide for the tourism trade.


Technology is omnipresent across the whole of the retail activity chain, from logistics and transport to e-commerce, communication with customers, purchasing and payments, up to the collection of information on customers.

Technology’s integration with retail activity, accompanying and adapting to the rapid pace of change it provides, will play a decisive role in the market, owing to the way in which technology is able to influence consumer patterns, create stimulating and differentiating purchasing experiences and, in the last instance, help to keep customers satisfied.