Your Year, Wrapped
15 Dec 2022
This week: No, we don’t have personalized infographics revealing your entrepreneurial personality type. But we’ve still got some savvy insights to share. Your year in review has arrived.
HINDSIGHT IS 20(22)
Congratulations! You’ve just about made it through 2022. With only a few weeks to spare, we’re making our New Year’s resolutions in advance this year, because if you haven’t noticed from the surge in 5pm dinner reservations this year, early is the new on time.
But to know where we’re going, first we need to see where we’ve been. Here were some of the biggest trends in retail and hospitality from 2022.
• Omnishopping: Remember when we rang in last New Year just as a new wave of Omicron was upon us? We wondered if in-person shopping would ever be as it once was. By April IRL was back, but shoppers had grown accustomed to the convenience of ordering ahead and perusing online. Small shops learned the importance of creating a seamless transition between online and offline experiences, and trends like in-store appointments, live demos, and expanded delivery and pickup options became more popular. These pivots were more than just a sales strategy; they were crucial to customers’ experience in a post-pandemic world. Business of Fashion explains, “At the forefront of today’s brick-and-mortar boom are digitally native newcomers that see stores as marketing opportunities rather than just a means of generating sales.”
• Robot shopping: We saw leaps and bounds in technological advances when it came to the in-store experience. In 2022, Uniqlo installed self-checkout machines that bypassed the need for individual item scanning. And UK grocer, Co-op, announced that electronic shelf labels (ESLs) would be replacing paper across all stores, saving the company an estimated £220,000 in paper and printing each year. H&M subsidiary Cos also experimented with new tech features, including mirrors capable of registering the size and color of items in fitting rooms in order to offer personalized product and styling recommendations. While features like these will become more common on the High Street, some shoppers (67 percent of them in this survey from Raydiant) found them frustrating. “The technology challenge of actually implementing [digital features] can overshadow the importance of the user experience,” Jackie Walker, experience strategy lead at Publicis Sapient told ModernRetail.
• Greener shopping: heatwaves, floods, and other climate disasters brought a new urgency to sustainable and conscious business practices in 2022. Shoppers demanded more from brands, taking recyclable packaging, decarbonization efforts, and ethical supply chains into consideration before purchasing. “[Small businesses] make up a very large share of the carbon emissions associated with big companies' supply chains... so you can't get to any meaningful change without dealing with small businesses," Michael Vandenbergh, a law professor at Vanderbilt University told the BBC. Another sign of the times? The rise of second-hand, vintage, and resale. Some resale brands, like Vestaire Collective, are positioning themselves as eco-conscious leaders in a notoriously wasteful industry that is rife with greenwashing. Vestaire recently banned fast fashion, removing roughly 5 percent of listings from its platform this year.
Maeving, a British-made e-bike company, and Todelli, a food and drink platform focused on ethical supply chains and local produce, are just a couple of the eco-conscious brands in our Rolodex that are meeting the moment.
Looking ahead to 2023, we’re tuning out the noise and focusing on fundamentals.
• A place of one’s own: After the universe-shrinking effects of the pandemic, we realized the importance of third places, shared spaces outside our homes and workplaces, where we can run into neighbor, friends, and others in our community. Looking ahead to 2023, we’re most excited about transforming spaces into places that make us want to spend time inside. Case in point: our Space For Ideas winner last year, Nicholas Daley, a Scottish-Jamaican menswear designer who pulled inspiration from reggae, punk, and local textiles to inspire his pop-up on London’s Greek Street. As part of his process, Daley connected with people in his network to supply plants, music, and art to the space so it felt more personal. “It really is about reaching out to everyone involved in producing, and giving them a platform and a place as well,” said lead designer David Shaw, who collaborated with Daley on the project.
• Sensual healing: from scent-scaping with Sowvital to Harry Styles’ visually-stimulating pop-up shops to the sweaty return of summer music festivals in 2022, we’re looking forward to making 2023 the year of big, bold in-person experiences. And we plan on using all five senses to our advantage, considering that people feel more emotionally connected to a brand after interacting with it in person, according to Gallup. Yes, it’s true that AI and the metaverse are making things more virtual, but it’s no secret that our emotional well-being is directly tied to our physical environments. We foresee more cross-pollination between restaurant pop-ups and retail shops, DJ events at open-air markets, and art exhibits in coffee shops.
• Location, location, location: When it comes to picking a perfect spot for your shop, there’s a lot to consider. In 2022, Appear Here saw an increase in website searches for urban, high-foot-traffic areas like Soho and Shoreditch and a bump in demand for market, food & beverage, and fashion spaces. We expect these trends to continue into next year with the addition of transportation hubs and shopping centers as our big bets for 2023 thanks to the mall's revival and return to travel. “Sometimes a difference of 20 meters on the high street can make or break a business,” Santiago Gamboa, the co-founder of Hermanos Coffee in London, told Appear Here earlier this year. “[Flexible leasing] made it so easy for us to get access to get great locations, which wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.”
Let us just say from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for sharing your time, insights, and efforts with us this year - we truly couldn’t have done it without you.
We’ll be taking a break over the holidays to spend time with loved ones and reset before the New Year. (And we hope you’ll do the same.)
Words by Nicola Pardy, a freelance writer and producer living in New York.