It’s been a tumultuous time for retail, and 2017 has set records — a lot of them to the negative trends with store closings, bankruptcies and CEO departures filling up the news feed. There have also been quite a few bright spots: Walmart finally hit the gas in its competition with Amazon, e-commerce pure plays began investing in brick and mortar and new technology began to go mainstream (yes, we’re talking about Amazon’s Alexa).
Retailers are coming off the best holiday season since 2011. Sales surged 4.9%, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse, and e-commerce jumped 18.1%. So while many retailers are still struggling to find their niche or shed debt loads, others are investing in new technology, stores and programs to ride this wave of strong consumer confidence. No doubt, 2018 will be as exciting as the past year.
Looking ahead to the new year, here are seven trends expected to disrupt and define 2018.