‘Tis the season for trend forecasting, and Placer.ai is out with its 2024 retail trend outlook. The location intelligence and foot traffic analysis firm included projections for the grocery sector that has undergone its fair share of changes in the 2020s.
Placer.ai recapped this year in its latest whitepaper, noting that consolidation has helped grocers reach new audiences and retail media networks continue to gain momentum. For 2024, the firm’s researchers called out the influence of star power on brands in an era when Taylor Swift brought celebrity back in a big way. “The ability to generate urgency and excitement indicates the potential for a broader retail, food and advertising opportunity in the open spaces that support these very events. Leaning into this phenomenon will be a key trend to track in 2024,” the researchers predicted.
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While brands and retailers have partnered with public figures for years, recent collaborations, like initiatives with actress Zooey Deschanel and football analyst/”Bachelor” franchise host Jesse Palmer, underscore the potential of such star power.
In its whitepaper, Placer.ai also called out the trend of placemaking. Examples include shopping malls that have diversified by adding entertainment venues and even grocery stores and mixed- use public spaces. The company used c-store chain 7-Eleven as an example, citing its electric vehicle fast charging network and car wash services that have led to an increase in visitors. “Both the charging stations and the car washes appear to give some consumers a reason to visit the chain that they would not have otherwise. And many of these car wash or EV charging consumers likely end up visiting the convenience store to pick up food or other items along the way,” the report points out.
Grocers can also heed Placer.ai’s forecast on experiential retail, which is expected to continue to expand. Overall in grocery, the researchers agreed that grocery shopping habits are only now returning to pre-pandemic norms, coming up on four years after the first coronavirus cases were reported in China.
As Placer.ai’s data shows, weekend grocery shopping trips have “returned with a vengeance.” Retailers ALDI and Trader Joe’s actually had more weekend shoppers in the third quarter of 2023 than they did in the third quarter of 2019.
Meanwhile, with decisions on the merger between The Kroger Co. and Albertsons on the horizon in the new year, Palcer.ai highlighted grocery mergers and acquisitions as a key trend for 2024. The firm reports that the consolidation movement is likely to accelerate and includes deals between large chain as well as smaller operations, like recent acquisitions by Heritage Grocers Group.
Finally, Placer.ai anticipates retail media networks to continue to reshape promotions in the retail and CPG space, with “significant untapped potential.”
The full white paper is available online.