Marketing

Retail Brew readers on the most overlooked and overhyped retail trends of 2021

We asked our audience to weigh in on which didn’t get enough attention this year—and which got way too much.
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Retail news that keeps industry pros in the know

Retail Brew delivers the latest retail industry news and insights surrounding marketing, DTC, and e-commerce to keep leaders and decision-makers up to date.

We’ve told you what the most overlooked and overhyped retail trends are for 2021, according to the industry experts. Now, it’s time to see where Retail Brew readers stand.

We asked you to weigh in on which didn’t get enough attention this year—and which got way too much. Here are the results.

Overhyped

NFTs: These blockchain-backed digital tokens rode the 2020 crypto wave and blew up in popularity in 2021. Brands and companies across the board, from General Mills and Taco Bell to Rebecca Minkoff and Shopify, got in on the craze in one way or another.

But most of our readers aren’t buying it. One wrote: “NFTs seem like they are going to crash. Why does it matter that someone owns an image that anyone can download on their phone and minimally tweak it and then try to sell as a new NFT?” Another said, “Collectibles are important, but still a small part of the industry.”

15-minute delivery: This year saw drop-offs made in time frames shorter than a TV sitcom. And while analysts recently told us these instant-delivery services can make sense in big cities—their long-term success isn’t guaranteed. Our audience agrees, ranking it the year’s second-most overhyped trend.

Overlooked

Buy now, pay later: Retailers have been hopping on the BNPL bandwagon in droves, we wrote earlier this week. Still, the Retail Brew audience felt the service was overlooked in a year that BNPL spending is predicted to add up to ~$226 billion.

  • About 30% of college students used BNPL at least once in 2021, per a September Morning Brew poll with Generation Lab.

One reader made a suggestion for how retailers should use it moving forward: “I only notice BNPL on the product page, without much explanation, and usually on items less than $100. I think retailers, especially furniture, electronics, furnishings, could do a better job marketing the option or promoting engagement through discounts.”

The supply chain: You couldn’t escape some variation of the phrase “supply-chain crisis” this year. Ports, particularly on the West Coast, saw historic backups. Retailers like American Eagle Outfitters made acquisitions to better own the process, while Amazon and others straight up chartered their own cargo ships to bypass bottlenecks.

For the Retail Brew audience, these issues were the year’s most overlooked trend. But it doesn’t end here.

+1: Just over a quarter (25.9%) of those who weighed in on our survey believe the supply chain is the most important thing to watch in the new year. “Supply-chain bottlenecks have global economic issues more significant than the other trends,” one reader wrote. “Reversing course for these bottlenecks will be imperative in 2022.”—KM

Retail news that keeps industry pros in the know

Retail Brew delivers the latest retail industry news and insights surrounding marketing, DTC, and e-commerce to keep leaders and decision-makers up to date.