With just over a month to go until SIAL Paris, which takes place at the Paris Nord-Villepinte from 19 to 23 October, SIAL has published an extensive overview of the key trends affecting the retail sector around the world, through its World Tour By SIAL programme.
Earlier this year, 28 journalists from trade magazines around the world met in Paris to discuss the trends most prevalent in their countries. The meeting took place as part of the World Tour By SIAL programme, which offers a window to the world on global retail and consumption trends.
The emergence of ‘Drive’, an e-commerce click-and-collect platform, was the first trend identified by the group. According to SIAL, the success for consumers when interacting with the service is 'twofold: the prices are the same as those in store, and you no longer have to physically go to the shops to do your shopping'.
‘Price Comparisons’ was the next trend identified by the group. Given increased competition in the marketplace and the rise of the discounters, retailers are under pressure to attract more ‘price-sensitive’ customers. As SIAL puts it, 'In France, all of the brands currently have their methods. In England, Tesco, for example, promises its customers an automatic refund of the price difference. While in the United States and Canada, price-comparison in shops is also becoming more common.'
Retailers are also adding value to the in-store experience, as consumers increasingly reassess the in-store shopping experience. Retailers need to give them a reason to shop in their stores, and need to keep abreast of the latest consumer trends in order to facilitate that. With this in mind, ‘Smartshopping’ was also identified as a key trend, with the smartphone now an 'indispensable item for shoppers'. As part of the World Tour programme, Carrefour and Walmart are going to try out new experiments relating to this, with on-site photography.
Another key trend identified by the group was the role of hard discount globally, with indications in France and Spain that consumers are beginning to grow tired of the format. In Germany, SIAL notes, Aldi is pursuing its hard-discount strategy in an 'increasingly soft manner', bringing more brands and a greater selection of products into its stores. This trend is selective, however. Ireland and the UK are examples of countries in which hard discount is still seeing considerable growth.
The ‘Globalisation of Trade’ is another area of note, with the likes of Walmart, Tesco, Carrefour, Auchan and Casino increasingly looking to expand into new and emerging markets. French retailer Auchan, for example, now makes 60 per cent of its turnover outside of France.
The final trend identified by the group was the emergence of ‘Amazon Fresh’, the fresh-produce delivery service being pioneered by online retailer Amazon in the US. As SIAL notes, 'Amazon sets itself apart by combining seemingly unlikely offers (before delivering to the customer): groceries and industrial fresh produce on the one hand, as well as locally produced or specialised produce from restaurants, top-of-the-range artisans or wine merchants.' Could this be a game-changer for retail, particularly given the rise of online ordering and delivery services?
These trends and more will be discussed at SIAL Paris 2014, the source of retail inspiration for the past 50 years. For more information, visit www.sialparis.fr.