The retail and consumer goods industries will change more in the next 10 years than they have over the past 40.

That’s the latest prediction from Accenture Strategy, which has published new research that retailers and consumer goods companies could unlock $2.95 trillion in value over the coming decade by accelerating digital transformation.

The figures are contained in Accenture Strategy’s ‘Painting the Digital Future of Retail and Consumer Goods Companies’ report, based on analysis for the World Economic Forum.

Investments in new, digitally-driven business models will give consumers greater choice around how they purchase goods and services, and enable companies to deliver profitable, differentiated experiences, the consultants said.

“The next decade will be a golden age for consumers, with technological innovation creating a variety of shopping experiences that will give consumers the simplicity, convenience or excitement they crave,” said Chris Donnelly, senior managing director, global retail lead, Accenture Strategy.

“Out of the $2.95 trillion in value the report identified, consumers have the most to gain – just over $2 trillion – through cost and time savings. The success of retailers and consumer goods companies to unlock value will be dependent on their ability to gain a deep understanding of consumers, embrace disruptive technologies and adopt innovative business models.”

The study identified current consumer appetite for new purchasing experiences, the business models that have the highest potential to unlock new value, and how organisations and policymakers can prepare themselves.

“The retail and consumer goods industries will change more in the next 10 years than they have over the past 40,” said Oliver Wright, managing director, global consumer goods lead, Accenture Strategy.

“As expectations around cost, choice, convenience and experience continue to increase, consumers will challenge the industry to evolve and innovate which will drive huge growth in digital commerce.”

Industry transformation
To reach the next frontier of digital commerce, retailers and consumer goods companies need to explore the following transformative business models which are already being welcomed by US consumers:

Accenture Digital Future retail
Source: Accenture Strategy

Societal implications

As a by-product of industry transformation, there is potential disruption for people and society which companies, policymakers and regulators need to actively address to:

  • Minimise impact on local communities – With an increasing number of retail stores downsizing or closing due to the rise of digital commerce, local communities need to respond by businesses and government establishing economic development strategies and partnering with communities to repurpose physical space as hubs for experiences, leisure and lifestyle activities.
  • Reskill the workforce – Emerging technologies will drive a range of efficiencies which will significantly change the nature of the industry’s workforce. Business leaders and policymakers must focus on accelerating reskilling people, creating partnerships with educational institutions, and influencing public policy to meet the needs of the future workforce.
  • Ensure sustainability – Meeting consumer demand for rapid delivery needs to be achieved in parallel to minimising environmental impact. Shifting to electric vehicles and exploring load-sharing can help while also enhancing delivery efficiency. Furthermore, innovation in packaging design and supporting recycling infrastructure is also critical, helping to build a more circular economy.

“To thrive in the next decade, organisations must aggressively pursue innovation and be willing to disrupt themselves. The winners will be those organisations that prioritise adopting a partnership mindset to offer customers new value, innovatively meet consumer demand for new services, and implement advanced data sciences to derive deeper customer insight to enable better decision-making,” said Donnelly.

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