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Retail Trends to Watch 2022

Retail Trends to Watch 2022

Written by

Abbie Dawson


April 19, 2022


Latest research

What trends look like being vital to retail’s continued resurgence?

Sales and footfall. It’s impossible to get away from these two measures when it comes to the retail sector. And a casual glance around right now reveals some headlines that, whilst certainly being of concern, digging a little deeper reveals some silver linings.

There are a lot of negative headlines concerning growth in UK retail sales, with them slowing in March as fears over the rising cost of living lead to the sharpest drop in consumer confidence since the 2008 financial crisis, according to industry data.

That data is from the British Retail Consortium, who revealed that total sales rose by 3.1% in March compared with the same month a year earlier (so therefore a; they still rose and b; we are in a better position than last year, so that’s good), but admittedly this is significantly down on the 6.7% increase in February.1

Helen Dickinson, the chief executive of the BRC, make a good point as to the challenges we are currently facing:

“The rising cost of living and the ongoing war in Ukraine has shaken consumer confidence, with expectations of people’s personal finances over the next 12 months reaching depths not seen since the 2008 financial crisis.”

Headlines detailing footfall falling by nearly a quarter also abound, but this relates to comparing footfall way back to 2019. As Oliver Hillier, senior retail analyst at Ipsos Retail Performance, says: “Despite footfall still being down by -22.9% compared to 2019, the unseasonably warm weather had a positive impact on footfall across the UK, with footfall up 9.9% compared to the previous month.”1

So with the Easter holidays here and rumours of an April heat wave, it’s not all doom and gloom.

But it is always good to be proactive. Here are 5 Trends for this year3 that could be vital for continuing retail’s dogged resurgence and fending off the impact of large global political and economic issues.

1. Cashierless shopping

Pioneered by Amazon, which launched its first Amazon Go cashier-less store back in 2018 (and with more and more of them springing up in London), the model has proved successful, and it is now being rolled out by an increasing number of retailers.

2. Experiential retailing

It’s easy to talk about it but a whole lot harder to deliver, and experience is increasingly becoming an important differentiator for consumers when it comes to making decisions about where they shop.

For example, in bricks 'n' mortar stores, sales staff can be armed with hand-held terminals that give them information on customers' shopping habits and past purchases, allowing them to provide "personalised" shopping experiences much like they would receive online.

3. Autonomous delivery

The delivery part of a retail transaction is often the most expensive part of the customer journey, so it is understandable that many retailers are focusing efforts on developing autonomous delivery services.

We've all been waiting for what feels like an age for Amazon's long-promised drone delivery service (it’s doubtful we will see it arrive in 2022), and other brands have moved ahead of them in the race, such as Alphabet with their Wing drone delivery service.

4. Social and omnichannel commerce

What we mean is offering a "joined-up" experience. For example, a customer that places an order through a business’s website may want to check the status of their order via Facebook messenger and then pick it up in-store. 

Brands will also put an increased emphasis on social selling. Looking to Asia and the example of the WeChat messaging app reveals what this may look like, as consumers there use the app for anything from talking to friends to making a doctor’s appointment or purchasing luxury brands.

5. Resilient and secure retail

With all that has transpired over the last two years, it isn’t surprising that talk of ‘resilience’ has become very prevalent across the sector. For example, there is a good chance we will see technology used to encourage and monitor social distancing, and also heat vision to monitor the temperature of people in crowds.


So, with one of the key trends being experiential retailing, what is a great customer experience? For us at Startle, it is something customers tell friends about. It elevates a brand to distinction, with all sites harmonising in unison. Ultimately it improves your bottom line.

What do we mean exactly? For your own brand and business, picture interactive screens that empower customers to creatively engage with products and capture imaginations, whilst your atmosphere responsively adapts throughout the day based on your business needs minute to minute. Increase dwell, drive spend, nudge repeat custom… 

It’s all possible with Startle.

Why not download for free (and with very little effort) our retail brochure?

And if you think we can help, we’d love to hear from you. Call us on +44 (0)203 397 7676 or drop us an email at


1The Guardian; ‘Retail sales slide as UK consumer confidence sinks to record low’. 12th April 2022.

2Retail Sector; ‘Retail footfall drops 22.9% across UK’. 7th April 2022.

3Forbes; ‘The Five Biggest Retail Tech Trends In 2022’. 12th January 2022.

Retail Trends to Watch 2022

Abbie Dawson

Marketing Manager at Startle. I'm in charge of our marketing activity, making sure to spread the word of Startle to as many brands as possible. When I'm not working, you'll find me vinyl shopping to add to my collection or working out at the gym (usually making enemies with a punching bag).

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Hey, we've just met you and this is crazy. But here's our number +44 (0)203 397 7676. So, call us maybe?

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