QVC Trend Study Retail 2036: “How will German consumers be shopping in the future?”
Between dash buttons and robo shopping: this is how consumption will change
Düsseldorf, October 2016. How will we be shopping in 20 years‘ time? What impacts will digitalization, resource shortages and social change have on our shopping habits? In the Trend Study Retail 2036 “How will German consumers be shopping in the future?” commissioned by digital retailer QVC Germany, ten reputed experts1 in retail, IT and science provide an outlook.
Trendbüro Hamburg and TNS Infratest also surveyed 2 consumers of the generations X, Y and Z3 on their preferences and ideas for the future of shopping. The key finding was that irrespective of technology advancements, there will still be a retailer/consumer relationship. “In the future, shopping will involve lots of the fun elements and digital assistants that have already started to appear in our everyday lives,“ said Hamburg-based trend researcher and survey director Professor Peter Wippermann. “The deeper we go into the virtual world, the more important the human factor becomes.”
Robo shopping: one in four would use it if they get a good service
In an increasingly complex world, people search for a sense of belonging. For more than one in three Germans (35 percent) a shared experience is already a (very) important aspect of shopping. Retailers will be catering to the consumer need for social interaction to a greater extent in future. Thanks to new technology, friends and family won’t necessarily have to accompany the consumer on a shopping trip in 2036. One in five Germans (19 percent) can (definitely) imagine going shopping “together in an online chat or a virtual reality scenario.“ The role of the sales assistant is also changing. Around one in four people would not mind being advised by a computer, avatar, hologram or robot in future.
Expansion of virtual shopping will be associated with a greater desire for real experiences 43 percent of Germans think that in the future, “it won’t make much difference if something’s happening online or in the real world”. One in two 16 to 30 year olds in generation Y agrees, as 33 percent of generation X do. According to the majority of all generations (77 percent), advancing technologization and robotization will be associated with an increasing consumer desire for real experiences. “Real life experiences will become increasingly valuable because so many things will be taking place in the virtual world in future.“ Stationary retailers and shopping malls that are good at conjuring up reality may profit from this trend. “Shopping experience worlds will exist in 2036 that offer consumers emotional experiences,“ explained Mathias Bork, CEO of QVC Germany. “Younger consumers view shopping as a mandatory activity. But it should also touch the emotions. These two things are diverging.”
Curiosity about personalized products and VR glasses
“The real world will always be better than any digital experience,“ said more than fifty percent of respondents in the Trend Study. However, virtual reality is very attractive to young consumers. One in four members of generation Y can (definitely) imagine using “virtual reality glasses to enter virtual shopping worlds“. There will also be a greater focus on personalized products. Three quarters of all respondents want products that are precisely tailored to their needs. And 31 percent of Germans can (definitely) envisage these personalized products being produced in the store. The necessary 3D printers are already available.
If the price and product are convincing, consumers are more likely to share data
The Trend Study experts believe that status symbols will not be as important in the future as they are today. In 2036, experiences will mean more than possessions. 63 percent of respondents agree with the statement that, “in the future, people who don’t need to possess everything will be cool.“ Quality will be more important than quantity, and products that last will be popular. There will be more sharing and leasing to reduce costs. Additionally, people who want to save money on standard products will choose flat rates and subscriptions in exchange for personal data. 38 percent of Germans would be willing to share their data if they got “lower prices on frequently used products and services“ in return. Men are more willing to share (49 percent) than women (30 percent). It will also be normal for consumers to perform tasks that retailers used to do. 59 percent of Germans are aware that they are rewarded for using the selfscan checkout: “In future I’ll be buying products cheaper if I do some of the retailer’s work“. Cupboards that replenish stock with a voice command 20 years from now, time will be a scarce commodity. People will like to spend time shopping for personal items, but not shopping for groceries. Germans expect future technology to bring more efficiency. One in three can (definitely) imagine using “an automatic ordering system when I run out of something at home.” 42 percent can envisage “a digital assistant that automatically finds the best prices on products“. And 41 percent can imagine the organic integration of shopping in the daily routine in 2036: “In the future, shopping will be taking place alongside everyday activities, for instance, using voice commands to order items when you open the cupboard and something’s run out.“
To read about other Trend Study 2036 findings, check out:
1 Participating experts: Professor Norbert Bolz (Media and Communications Expert), Mathias Bork (CEO QVC Germany), Dr. David Bosshart (CEO of the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute in Zurich), Dr. Kirsten Brodde (blogger and author), Robert Heinemann (Senior Director Center Management at ECE Projektmanagement), Jürgen Müller (founder of the SUITS fashion and lifestyle HR consultancy firm), Michael Schuster (partner and founder of SpeedInvest, a venture capital fund for start-ups), Anne M. Schüller (keynote speaker, management expert, business coach and author), Professor Peter Wippermann (trend researcher, consultant, author and keynote speaker on future trends), Dr. Gerd Wolfram (founder of IoT Innovation & Consult, a company providing innovative technology solutions), Alexander Zerdick (Director Sales Google Hamburg)
2 In two consumer workshops and an online survey; n=1,007; representative for Germany. Comparative data was obtained for women and men, and for generation Y (aged 16-30) and generation X (aged 31-45), survey took place in August 2016. TNS Infratest/Trendbüro Hamburg
3 Members of generation X are today generally in their mid-30s to their late 40s. Generation Y members were born between 1985 and 2000. Generation Z follows generations X and Y.
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