21 biggest retail trends to look out for in 2019

CB Insights, a strategic intelligence firm, gathered up the biggest trends in retail and analyzed where they stand as the year gets underway. The resulting matrix, based on what CB Insights calls its NExTT framework, offers a picture of the changes set to have a high impact in the near term, and the ideas that are likely to become increasingly important in the future. On one axis is how widely adopted the trend is, taking into account factors such as the momentum of startups in the space. On the other is the trend’s “market strength,” determined by the quality and number of investors behind it, investments in R&D, forecasts of its market size, and other indicators.

From that data, CB Insights grouped the trends into four different categories:

  • Experimental: Trends that are in their early stages or have proofs of concept, but that haven’t produced many useful products or aren’t widely adopted in the marketplace yet.
  • Transitory: Ideas that retailers have been rolling out, but where there’s still a lot of uncertainly about their value and how retailers can best use them.
  • Threatening: These have a large potential market and investment capital flowing into them, but only the earliest adopters have so far put them into practice.
  • Necessary: The stuff with a clear, understandable value that lots of retailers have already put into place and shoppers are actively using. At this point, companies should already have plans for how to make use of these in 2019.

The dot colors in the chart refer to what part of the retail industry the trend affects. Blue is product, purple is merchandising, and orange is supply chain and distribution.

Why It’s Hot:

As we kickoff this year and provide recommendations to help our clients innovate and meet customer needs – we must consider where the market is heading, and where trends lie in terms of adoption.