What’s in store in 2019

I am sure that David Cameron had no idea of the Pandora’s box he was opening when he promised the electorate the referendum held over two years ago on 23 June 2016. Regardless of whether you voted leave or remain, businesses have had to operate in a climate of uncertainty since the result went narrowly the way of leave supporters. With the spectre of a no – deal Brexit looming once again, the pound has been falling and stock markets have taken a battering. Businesses can only guess about the likely outcome and try their best to plan ahead. However, life does go on.

Here are our thoughts on what the key trends for 2019 could be:

- Cannabis credentials. Well cannabidiol (CBD) at least. The non – psycho-active derivative of the cannabis plant has been growing in popularity across a range of grocery categories as its supposed health benefits become more widely known. CBD is thought to help with a number of mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. This means that the health credentials of CBD are now a key marketing tool for brands using the extract in their products.

- Save our high streets. The tumbleweed isn’t quite there yet but things are very difficult on the high street. Footfall is down and a number of retailers have fallen into administration. Stores will need to evolve to survive. Shops will have to get smarter using new technology such as in -store heat maps and aisle planning to ensure better traffic flow and shorter checkout queues. Mobile payment technology will also be key. Retailers who don’t have the facility for Apple Pay and contactless will lose out. The threatened tax on online only retailers such as Amazon and Asos could see them venturing further into bricks and mortar stores. 

- Consumer champions. This trend has already started with the consumer fightback against single use plastic. We see the rising power of consumer activism. They are much more engaged with the products they consume and won’t tolerate unethical or environmentally damaging behaviour by brands.

- ‘Smart delivery’. There is a growing demand for intelligent delivery platforms. They will use AI or artificial intelligence to ‘learn’ customers’ routines and deliver to the most appropriate address dependent on time of day. Technology will enable retailers to keep customers even better informed about delivery times and order tracking.

We are sure you will have other thoughts but we hope you find these of interest. Wishing you a happy and successful 2019!