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Conscious consumerism, experiential selling are the top retail trends for 2020

Singaporeans are willing to pay premium prices for products that are more sustainable.

Conscious consumerism and experiential selling are the two trends that will shape retail strategies in 2020, with issues of sustainability and growing online competition at the forefront of the industry, reports Knight Frank.

A study by Nielsen found that nearly 80% of Singaporeans are willing to pay premium prices for products that contain environmentally friendly or sustainable materials. More recently, the Climate Change Public Perception Survey 2019 found that nearly four in five of those polled were prepared to play a role towards a low-carbon Singapore, even if they have to bear some additional costs and inconvenience as consumers.

“The younger affluent generations are more conscious of the social and environmental impacts of their purchase decisions, leading to the rise of sustainable fashion,” said Angela Hoe, head of retail at Knight Frank. “The increasing awareness will further weigh on the real estate decisions of apparel brands as well.”

Also read: Prime retail rents stay flat in Q4 2019

As a result, rental subscription providers are rising in popularity as apparel shoppers seek value-for-money propositions whilst minimising wastage. Subscribers pay a fixed amount per month to access thousands of designer and fashionable items. The subscribers can select what they wish, wear them, and return to swap for something new, minimising the need to ‘buy-and-throw’.

Apart from appealing to environmentally and cost-conscious shoppers, the digital system employed can collect critical data on shopper preferences, allowing the retailer to better control their inventory.

In Singapore, such services are also gaining traction in recent years through online brands such as Style Theory, Madthread, and Covetta.

Style Theory opened its first physical store in 313@Somerset in October 2019, offering over 300 pieces of apparel and accessories. The physical store also allows customers to try on the designer pieces. The trained image consultants also provide new subscribers with personalised styling advice and recommendations based on shoppers’ body types and preferences.

More apparel brands also want their products to be made with sustainable materials. According to a McKinsey study, half of the sourcing executives surveyed wanted 50% of their products to be made with sustainable materials by 2025, and more than 80% of the executives expect physical clothing design samples to be used far less often by 2025.

Also read: How malls are reinventing themselves as e-commerce bites

Landlords and retailers are also expected to take a more collective and holistic approach to experiential retail, melding lifestyle components and technology together to offer shoppers personalised shopping experience.

However, whilst this may attract higher footfall, it remains to be seen whether the higher footfall can be converted to higher sales, the report adds. 

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