Aerial view of loading dock

Growing Inflation, supply chain issues and labor shortages were the key structural challenges that were a main theme mentioned in nearly every mainstage presentation.

Carla Harris, Morgan Stanley’s Vice Chairman and Managing Director, said: “Capital markets hate two things — uncertainty and surprise — and we have a lot of that on the horizon”. The good signs outweigh the bad with consumers sitting on record levels of savings.  The money in the hands of consumers means good news for retail, predicting that it looks like a very successful year for retail in 2022 and beyond. 

Sustainability is not a new trend, but rather a growing one. Gen Z are driving the push for more sustainability in retail and want solutions to this problem, the IBM Institute for Business Value Survey, 62% of consumers are willing to change their purchasing habits to reduce environmental impact. And half of respondents are willing to pay a premium for sustainability. 

Thee Institute for Business Value (IBM), in association with the National Retail Federation, released its second global study, “Consumers Want It All,” which surveyed over 19,000 surveyed consumers, with 72% of respondents saying they use the store as all or part of their primary purchase method, while 27% report hybrid shopping as their method of choice. Sixty-two percent of respondents are willing to change their purchasing habits to reduce environmental impact, up from 57% two years ago, and half of respondents say they’re willing to pay a premium for sustainability.

Implications: To future-proof against ongoing supply chain issues, retailers must optimize for today’s new customer-led model of selling, embedding data and artificial intelligence to improve inventory management and predict stock and demand levels, or look to reframe supplier relationships and diversify supply chains to allow for production to move to market very rapidly. In terms of sustainability, it is imperative that brands have a stance and plan to have a sustainable supply chain as well as a lower carbon footprint overall.