Hyper-connectivity is one factor propelling the paradigm shift at retail.
Shutterstock / Slavoljub Pantelic
The year America celebrates its 250th birthday — 2026 — will be a period where demographic shifts, changing values and hyperconnectivity will have changed the retail landscape from an affluent model to one that is influencer-based.That’s according to a new report from A.T. Kearney, the global strategy and management consulting firm, on “America’s Next Commercial Revolution: Influence vs. Affluence.”The report said the “unprecedented number of store closings, dying malls and retail bankruptcies” are all foreshadowing major shifts on the retail front. The multiyear data analysis of demographic and “personagraphic” research on what American consumers and business will look like indicates that brands and companies will no longer be able to rely on the affluence-based model that allows them to scale production. In the new paradigm shift, where influence from a single voice can affect a large company or entire market, it will be the values-based brand or brands that master personalization that will enjoy the fastest rate of growth, according to the A.T. Kearney report.“As a result, the mass market of the future will thrive on three fundamentally different principles: influence, personalization and trust,” the report said, noting that consumer brands and retailers that can appeal to future consumers will be those that take advantage of new technology-enabled ways to influence and sell. That makes engaging consumers in the digital world “more critical than ever,” according to Greg Portell, lead partner at A.T. Kearney’s retail practice and the principal author of the study.Portel said that under the new influence model, individual consumers can effect change and build community by influencing his or her peers, as well as retailers, consumer products goods manufacturers, media and governments through social media to both amplify the power of their voices and facilitate the formation of ad hoc coalitions to address different causes, regardless of the individual’s financial position. That’s far different from the affluence model where consumers believe their self-worth has a direct relationship to what they buy. Portell calls that the mantra of “I am what I own.”By 2026, there will be six generations, including four high commercial impact generations. The two at opposite ends are what the report has dubbed the Silent Generation, those born between 1928 and 1945, and the Alpha Generation, those born between 2017 to 2023. With the oldest at 81 and the youngest at age 9, neither has major buying power. The four in the middle are Baby Boomer, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z. Collectively, these four generations are older, less traditional, more diverse and more urban. Not only will living arrangements and domestic identifies be different, the households will be more centered around urban areas, and income inequality — the gap between the top 1 percent of U.S. earners and the bottom 90 percent — will continue to grow.And the changing consumer base will mean the concept of value will incorporate more than just the product itself to include factors such as ethics, trading partners and sourcing of raw materials, and even the political position of board members of public companies, the report noted. The report also said that currently 25 percent of Gen Zers actively look for brands and retailers that do good for the world, and another 26 percent said they would avoid brands or retailers that did something that violated their moral or ethical code.The study noted that food and beverage firms are the earliest and most successful adopters and beneficiaries of the new personalization model. It concluded savvy retailers and manufacturers are the ones who will quickly focus on “who” a consumer is than on what he or she “does.”And with consumers becoming “critical data feeds” as information from social network participation replace traditional buying and browsing histories, trust will become the new consumer currency. Under this scenario, consumers will trade personal data in exchange for what they consider “value-added” personalization.The report provided five suggestions on what companies can do: Use data to understand your customers on their terms; create new models and metrics to describe your target market; redefine scale; think about trust as your customers do, and maximize the value of your workforce.
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye