Sustainability, digital store fronts that delight and a dose of kindness – what consumers want from retail in 2021

Consumers are greener and kinder (Image: AdobeStock)

Most of us will be glad to see the back of 2020, but what does next year have in store from a retail perspective? GlobalWebIndex’s annual consumer behaviour report offers some insights and it has found that sustainability, digital stores and kindness are chief among desires for retail moving forward.


The annual ‘Connecting the dots’ report, compiled from 700,000 interviews across 46 countries, explores how internet users are changing the way they act, think, and feel, in line with events around the world and posits just what matters to consumers against a backdrop of uncertainty and change.


“2020 has spanned a pandemic, global lockdowns, the Black Lives Matter movement, extraordinary wildfires in Australia and the Americas, the rise of TikTok, US elections, to name but a few,” says Jason Mander, Chief Research Officer at GWI. “The world has changed, and so have consumers. Through Connecting the dots, you won’t just know what the biggest behavioural shifts were in 2020, you’ll see what’s been driving them, and how to take advantage. This, coupled with a harmonized global perspective, can help give confidence that what you’re seeing isn’t just a regional fad. In an era defined by universal change, context is king. Without it, distinguishing between hype and reality is even more difficult”


Key trends for 2021

These are the key trends to watch out for in 2021:


A green awakening: make sustainability part of the recovery in 2021

The first wave of lockdowns had an unexpected upside: we began a new chapter in our relationship with the environment. However, any gains look set to be wiped out as normality returns. Cynicism is also set to make a comeback.


Consumers have gone from seeing a bright future ahead to feeling pessimistic – and this backlash will ensure green values are a hot topic through 2021 and back on top of the agenda.

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