2018 Retail Trends: You’ll Be Shocked


We’re now well past the halfway point (?!?!) of the year, so it’s a good time to take a look at 2018 retail trends and sales. The U.S. Census Bureau surveys 4,900 retailers each month, releasing a detailed look at retail sales broken down into 13 different categories:

  • Auto
  • eCommerce
  • Department Stores
  • Apparel
  • Electronics
  • Food and Drink (Grocery and Liquor Stores)
  • Building and Garden
  • Sport and Hobby
  • Health and Beauty
  • Furniture
  • Hospitality
  • Gasoline/Diesel
  • Miscellaneous

After a record-breaking year for retail in 2017 with $5.7 trillion in sales and the largest growth since 2011, 2018 is shaping up to be even better. June sales were up nearly 6% from the same month last year (because the holiday season accounts for approximately 20% of retail purchases, sales are usually comparatively measured month for more relevant data). Such strong retail numbers indicate a healthy economy. So be sure that your retail POS system can handle all of these crazy sales!

More Specific Trends for Retailers

Overall, we’re continuing to see huge growth for online and eCommerce sales. Still, consumers show no signs of abandoning brick and mortar stores. After all, the world’s biggest online retailer just bought one of the largest grocery stores and is in the process of rolling out Amazon Go, a new take on the brick and mortar retail store. Traditional retailers are forced to compromise with current trends rather than revamp altogether. This involves adjusting pricing, convenience, in-store experience, or other factors in order to entice the typical consumer.

Evaluating retail data in the United States is clearly an exhausting task, so we’ve picked a few of the more interesting and relevant points to highlight today:

Top Retail Trends from the Retailer’s Side

  1. 54% of retailers said improving customer experience is their highest in-store focus. Next was cross-channel marketing at 22%
  2. Online retail is up another 10% and now contributes over 11% to total retail sales
  3. 13% of retailers identify as digital first or digital only – retail technology is critical
  4. 33% identify targeting and personalization as their top marketing priorities
  5. Retail email marketing accounts for 20% of online traffic. Only organic traffic is greater (22%)
  6. Personalizing it is important: 75% of consumers said they’d be more likely to make a purchase if the retailer knows their name and order history
  7. Running a healthy website is also important: 61% of shoppers are unlikely to return if the website is troublesome
  8. So is creating good content: 63% of consumers want retailers to provide informative content; 75% are more likely to make a purchase if a video is included

Top Retail Trends from the Customer’s Side

  1. 51% of consumers prefer to shop online
  2. 96% have made an online purchase in the past year
  3. 80% make an online purchase at least monthly; 30% at least weekly and 5% at least daily
  4. 46% of small businesses don’t have a website
  5. 67% of Millenials prefer online over brick and mortar, 56% of GenXers, 41% of Baby Boomers and 28% of Seniors
  6. The vast majority of consumers believe that social media influences their purchases; 53% say that comes from Facebook alone, though 74% said they would not share a purchase on their social media
  7. 59% of eCommerce is conducted on a mobile platform
  8. Mobile coupons and discounts are 10x more likely to be redeemed
  9. 90% say they’re more likely to make a purchase if delivery is free
  10. Parents spend 61% more online than non-parents, and men, 28% more than women
  11. 23% of carts are abandoned (reasons for abandonment pictured below)

So What Do the 2018 Retail Trends Tell Us?

With the vast seas of data, it’s hard to do a fair job of summarizing. But if there was one clear indication, it’s that any retail store must be making changes now to adapt to online commerce. This includes an efficient, content-rich website, a suitable eCommerce platform, and email and social media marketing. For a more in-depth look, check out these ridiculously informative studies that we used to put this blog together:

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About the Author

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Michael Chalberg

Michael has long focused his writing on the world of retail and small businesses. He''s been a part of the KORONA POS team since 2018 and loves helping entrepreneurs find ways to adapt and succeed. In his spare time, you'll likely find him hiking somewhere in the Southwest.

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