Another year is over… and what a year it was. From lockdowns and store closures to a retail evolution that sets us on a path for more innovation than ever before, as retailers adapt to meet consumer needs, desires and behaviours. We’ve rounded up the strongest trends from 2021, as the lines between physical and digital continue to blur, experiential destinations drive more traffic than ever and sustainable retail solutions turn vital.

2021 In Review

The beginning of the year saw a slow start with national lockdowns, empty storefronts and administration for much-loved retailers as online shopping behaviours grew. Spring saw us move into cautious re-openings, with pop-ups becoming particularly popular as we saw the value in immersive and unique experiences. Fundamental changes to daily routines and behaviours forced people to scrutinise how and where they spend time and money, leading to increased focus on sustainability and support of independent and local retailers.

Trend 01 | Phygital Blur

2021 saw exciting developments in the blending of the best of digital and physical worlds at retail. Brands and stores aimed to drive appeal and engage shoppers through exclusive gamified content, products and promos within the physical environment. The best experiences take the best aspects from each space to create a holistic and unique experience that leaves a lasting impression.

Trend 2 | Experiential Destinations

This year we saw a continued emphasis on the creation of destination and experiential retail, designed to draw consumers into stores by offering more than what is available online. Stores are designed to act as hubs of discovery and entertainment, offering meaningful and immersive experiences that create authentic connections with brand communities.

Trend 3 | Active Sustainability 

The climate has never been higher on the agenda, this year many retailers moved into taking action on sustainability to respond to the changing expectations of both their customers and their employees. More and more retailers are creating design and innovative destinations which consider circularity and sustainability.


To see these trends working in real life, head to our work page.
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