Retail in 2030: The Future of Shops

Most of us will be glad to see the back of 2020. The global pandemic has been a disaster for health, economies, and communities everywhere, and many operators in the retail industry have been particularly badly hit. We are all looking forward to a more positive future, but what might that future look like for the retail industry?

Tomorrow’s World of Retail

CBRE is the world’s largest commercial real estate services firm, and it has been tracking key trends shaping the global retail industry. Here we take a look at some of its predictions for retail in 2030:


A Rise in Independent Stores and Food & Beverage Retailers

With consumers continuing to seek out new brands, more independent retailers will open on the high street. This will be particularly prevalent in the food and beverage industry. Curated offerings, which will see retailers focusing on personalisation, will also become more popular. This will be a positive development for communities because products and services will be tailored to suit local preferences.

Physical Cash Registers and Points of Sale Will Disappear

Stores are already starting to remove traditional tills and encouraging customers to become their own cashiers. This trend will continue as technology becomes more sophisticated. Payment will be taken via a pre-registered smartphone before the customer leaves the store. Increasingly sophisticated biometric security measures such as facial and voice recognition and pulse detection will make this possible.

Fitting Rooms Will Be More Customer-Friendly

Fitting-room technology will advance so that customers can request different sizes or styles using a touchscreen or voice control. New technology will allow people to try on outfits in virtual settings or to pair the clothes they are trying on with items they have in their wardrobes. This will lead to fewer returns.

Shopping Centres Will Become Simply Centres

Current shopping centres generally have limited nonretail options, such as food, beverages, cinema, and possibly bowling. New centres will become better at incorporating mixed use, so, as well as shops, you will find educational facilities, leisure areas, open-air and event spaces, and coworking office spaces.

Retail Prediction Will Improve

Retailers have been using machine learning to predict demand and set prices for some time, but advances in analytics and big data will give them a greater understanding of consumers. Basic purchases will be automated, so much of actual shopping will be for leisure purposes, and the most successful retailers will be the ones that predict their customers’ behaviour most accurately.

Tailored Customer Experiences Will Become the Norm

Using predictive analytics, retailers will tailor their offerings to specific customers rather than to a generic audience. This will complement the trend toward communities blending their working, living, and shopping experiences. Understanding the customers in your catchment area will become even more important. There will be a greater focus on niche centres for targeted groups.

Customers Will Expect to Buy What They Want Wherever They Are

The ubiquity of the smartphone, advances in product-recognition software, and 24-hour shopping mean that products will be available to buy simply by capturing an image. This will make product placement in television programs, movies, and magazines an increasingly popular trend for retail in 2030. The trend will put greater demands on real-time stock availability and logistics.

Shops Will Be Far More than Simply Places to Buy

Education and experience will become even more important in the shops of 2030. Flagship stores in key locations will be used more for marketing than for revenue generation. More shops will be built purely as showrooms because physical shops will become less important due to online shopping. Customers will be able to try out products in the shop and have the product delivered to them either instore or at home.

The Circular Economy Will Continue to Rise

As people become more environmentally aware, they become more interested in sustainable products. Retail brands that focus on renting and repurposing will benefit from this. With the growth of digital connectivity, people will find it easier to locate quality used products that they are looking for. Retailers will need to demonstrate to their customers that they are serious about sustainability and environmental responsibility.

Local Markets & Experiences Will See a Resurgence

The emphasis on health and wellbeing will see a renewed focus on locally grown and sourced products and organic food. Attendance at farmers’ markets and other local events will increase in response. With more people living in cities, people will look to create feelings of community through their experiences.

Customers Will Expect Retailers to Reward their Loyalty

With technology opening up a wider range of options for consumers, they will expect brands and retailers to work harder for their loyalty. Customers will look for loyalty programmes with special discounts and exclusive offers for the individuals who shop most at their outlets. Retailers will partner with nonretail companies so that customers get discounts when they use both.


It remains to be seen whether these developments will become a reality, but what appears certain is that retailers who anticipate their customers’ needs best and focus on creating a tailored experience for them will enjoy the best prospects for success in the future.