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Will the future of retail be bright or bleak?

Will the future of retail be

We crowdsourced ideas from 100 Futurice professionals and worked in close collaboration with 7 groundbreaking companies and 1 university to create this future vision about the retail of 2030 to you.

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Oh yes, it will be bright and filled with opportunities!

Welcome to our carefully researched projection of what retail and grocery shopping might look like in 2030. We aim to provide inspiration and insights instead of probabilistic forecasts. This material will help you investigate emerging opportunity areas and learn about the strategic risks involved.

We live with constant change in a VUCA world: Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity are the keywords defining our everyday operational environment. At the same time, technical tools advance at high speed. The retail industry is massive in size and impact. Its ability to reimagine itself and develop new sustainable ways to serve global populations is vital to our overall societal development and essential in the ecological restructuring we need.

At its best, retail stands for enjoyable shopping experiences, plenty of cool jobs, clever use of data and technologies throughout the value chain. It plays an integral part in our livelihoods, nutrition and general human flourishing. While it has an exciting role in the overall renewal of our societies, it will hopefully still offer stable structures for our everyday life, too:  familiarity and a source of belonging  – a historical continuation for our consuming bodies to the future. The makers of this report wish to contribute to the discussion around this transformation


7 opportunity areas

We processed our findings into 23 trends and four different future worlds. We identified seven opportunity areas for the retail domain. Here is what we recommend for study and action.

The new narratives of adulthood

Narratives of adulthood are changing. Embrace societal change by creating data-based services that steer away from gender binaries and normative ideas of what a household consists of.

Data-inspired products and services

Join forces with other data-intensive operators to create more precise and anticipatory products and services. New approaches for orchestrating data ownership will be needed.

The next level of services based on ecosystems

Prepare to offer your customers groceries-as-a-service by utilising strong brand ecosystems and data-sharing in the supply chain. Winner takes all?

Harnessing influencer power

Reach consumers on social media by collaborating with influencers and building platforms for managing micro-influencer power.

Digital-first and digital-only

Everyone is designing digital-first shopping experiences. You should aim to provide seamless last-mile delivery and keep designing relevance for physical store visits.

Fully transparent supply chains

Be radically open about your supply chains. If you have problems showcasing them, make changes for the better. The politicisation of retail products continues.

Circular in focus

Make it easy for your customers to choose sustainable options. Collaborate with ecosystem partners to optimise resource use and waste management.

In the 2030s the triumph of hyper personalisation continues

What we eat and consume is data-inspired and tailored to match our unique bodies and minds

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Welcome to experience four versions of how shopping is going to feel like to customers in 2030. We have also outlined the key characteristics of these scenarios to you, and present to you a selection of trends that are relevant for understanding how the world was formulated.
22 themes driving changes
Trends, drivers & enablers

Our future scenarios are based on a broad, crowdsourced trend scanning and analysis. Browse here the 23 themes for how the world and retail might change

Trends Call-to-Action image
Building a contactless future
A desire for contactless experiences has always been there but pandemic moved contactless first thinking from a convenience aspect to a necessity for many user interactions. Personalization relies on correct and timely identification of the recipient of service and it becomes particularly challenging when shifting to contactless user experiences, as the current means of identification require some form of contact from the users. Beacons, biometrics, wifi have all tried to localize and identify users proactively but precision or security aspects fell short of the expectation. There is an emerging technology in town, Ultra Wide Band (UWB) that promises to address the shortcomings of its predecessors and we have put it to a test in payment and loyalty context in collaboration with Aalto University.
Four retail scenario avatars
How to use strategic foresight in decision making?
Futures thinking helps anticipate futures, empowers businesses to actively build it, and assists in strategic planning and communication. In this blog we discuss some tools for taking futures thinking into action.
Lips and fizzy drinks cans
Emotion will continue to rule over reason
Consumers might think that they do educated sustainable choices, but in grocery store purchases, decisions seldom are based on facts but rather on pure impressions and emotions.
Preparing food on the kitchen counter
Foresight, the muse of the K Grocery Trade strategy
The most personal and valued customer experience is the vision of the K Grocery trade. As the world keeps on spinning faster than ever before, we have to focus like a laser not only on the changing customer needs and wants but also our surroundings to reach this vision. The fact that we have a clear focus in our strategy helps us exploit the possibilities that customers value the most and therefore be the forerunners of the industry time after time.

In collaboration with

Aalto University logoBerner logoFuturice logo (FOR COLLABORATOR ONLY)Kesko logoOlvin logoVALIO logo
Future of Retail 2030
Download the full vision

The future of Retail full vision contains our well-researched speculations: The 7 opportunity areas, 23 trends and 4 future worlds on how the future of retail might look like in the 2030s, packed in 1 file. Enjoy reading!

A man among groceries and technology