As we battle our way through the busiest time of the retail year, it pays to take a moment to reflect on what’s taken place over the last 12 months. Like every year recently, 2017 saw successes and failures, as well as a hefty helping of challenging change.
Retail industry trend of 2017 – Winner: Digital buy-now pay-later systems
Runner-up: Co-located food and beverage offerings
One of the most prominent trends of 2017 saw a significant number of retailers offering buy-now pay-later payment systems. Four competing companies offering this service launched within months of one another during 2017. The opportunity to buy and receive items and pay them off in instalments is attractive to consumers who want goods instantly but prefer smaller payments rather than a lump sum.
Most hyped-up arrival for 2018 – Winner: Amazon
Runner-up: Forever 21 and Uniqlo
As the US based retail giant announced its plans to open in Melbourne this year, speculation and a healthy degree of concern has been on Kiwi retailers’ minds. Amazon’s possible market entry has neither been confirmed nor denied, yet retailers in New Zealand are steadily preparing themselves for the worst.
The ‘thunder thief’ award for best undercut – Winner: Countdown’s plastic bag phase-out
Runner-up: Collectively, every buy-now pay-later digital system launched in 2017
When New World first launched its ‘BagVote’ campaign in September, it rode high on a wave of public approval. The online BagVote poll gave consumers three options to vote on: introduce a 5 cent charge for bags; a 10 cent charge; or no charge at all. It did not include an option for phasing out bags.
However, while the poll was still running, Countdown stole New World’s thunder by announcing it was to wholly eliminate single-use plastic carrier bags by the end of 2018. New World fired back within days with a commitment to do the same, but public opinion was clear – Countdown won the Battle of the Bags.