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What Retailers Should Learn From 2023 Heading Into 2024

December 20, 2023

With the close of 2023 quickly approaching, it is worthwhile for retail businesses to take note of which way the 2024 trend winds are blowing.

2023 demonstrated that the conscious consumer is no longer a niche segment. Demand for eco-friendly and ethically produced products grew significantly in 2023 and is expected to skyrocket in 2024. It has been reported that more than 60% of consumers are willing to pay more for products with sustainable packaging and that 78% of consumers consider sustainability important. Additionally, 84% of customers report that poor environmental practices will alienate them from a brand or company. This shift towards conscious consumerism is not just a theoretical trend either, as it’s translating into tangible benefits for businesses as products marketed as sustainable grow 2.7 times faster than those that do not. To thrive heading into 2024, businesses should prioritize eco-friendly practices, be transparent with their supply chains, provide clarity on their ethical responsibilities to consumers, and be dedicated to remaining in regulatory compliance.

Another lesson to take away from 2023 while heading into 2024 is that the AI revolution in retail is just beginning and is bound to become an indispensable part of every retail business. AI technology can be used in various ways for retailers, ranging from marketing, promotion, supply chain management, and sales. For example, personal AI shopping assistants are becoming commonplace for various online retailers. Additionally, many retailers are using AI in combination with their customer data to tailor personalized marketing strategies that can be implemented faster than ever. With the rapid speed of AI development, it is sure to become a key driver of retail success in 2024.

2023 also demonstrated that consumer demand is still being driven in part by COVID-19. For example, travel-related consumer demand continued to surge in 2023 (and is expected to continue to do so in 2024) for travel-related products such as luggage, bags, and accessories. Similarly, apparel has resurged, driven by a return to formal events and workplaces with activewear expected to make a comeback in the fall of 2024 after a temporary decline in 2023 due to overbuying. These examples reflect a growing eagerness of consumers to explore the world post-COVID-19. Lastly, given the economic uncertainties of 2023, retailers should continue to keep resilience as a top priority heading into 2024. Although interest rates recently declined, the economic forecasts remain uncertain. Therefore, retail businesses must continue to exercise financial conservatism in day-to-day operations and spending.

This publication is intended for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or a solicitation to provide legal services. The information in this publication is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional legal counsel. The views and opinions expressed herein represent those of the individual author only and are not necessarily the views of Clark Hill PLC. Although we attempt to ensure that postings on our website are complete, accurate, and up to date, we assume no responsibility for their completeness, accuracy, or timeliness.

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