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2023 Predictions & Trends: What Retail Can Expect to See in the Year Ahead...

Elizabeth Lafontaine
Chief Retail Analyst, Retail Leader Pro
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(Download a PDF version of this month's report at the bottom of the article.)

Let's Set the Scene...

As we close out 2022, the retail industry can be best described as volatile. Heading into this past year, most retailers and brands were keenly aware that the highflying growth of 2020 and 2021 would at some point stagnate, and that 2022 same-store sales would be incredibly challenging across sectors as consumer demand simmered.

a woman

But, with all of the noise surrounding the industry and consumer in 2022, where do we go from here? There have been bright spots of growth within the industry and not all categories have been similarly impacted by inflationary pressures. In 2023, my assumption is that we are in for more of the same in terms of consumer behavior and its impact on the general retail industry.

The economic headwinds and uncertainty around a potential recession in the U.S. will not allow a reversal of this year’s trends in 2023, but many retailers will be heading into the new year better equipped to handle the pressures after a softer 2022. 

As we think ahead to the largest trends of 2023, here are our predictions for the top four consumer and retail trends to expect in the coming year, and how they each might impact the larger consumer and industry narrative.

I believe 2023 will prove to be the real test for both the consumer and the retail industry, which may be our indication of the shifting of the tides away from the consumerism of the pandemic into a more long-term pattern.

Money, Money, Money

As mentioned above, 2022 was a reckoning for many consumers who felt an inflated sense of wealth during the pandemic. As prices and interest rates increased, and some markets like housing cooled off, we’re left with a consumer that’s going to be far more on edge financially than we’ve seen in years.

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