Retail Brew readers on the most overlooked and overhyped retail trends of 2022

Nearly half of respondents (49.9%) said the metaverse/NFTs were overhyped this year.
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MetaMarket, Metaverse Fashion Week, Meta

4 min read

We want to give you guys a big thanks for filling out our survey. As the year winds down, we wanted to know what our valued Retail Brew readers thought were the most overhyped and the most overlooked industry trends in 2022. So, we asked.

The request: that you weigh in on which trends in retail didn’t get enough attention this year—and which ones got way too much. Well, you answered, and here are the results:


Metaverse/NFTs: For the second year in a row, Retail Brew readers found the world of the metaverse to largely be a snoozefest. Nearly half of respondents (49.9%) said this trend was overhyped, which is not a surprise given that crypto markets have had a *tough* 2022.

But this year saw even more brands dip their toes into the metaverse, including Nike, Adidas, Zara, and Gucci.

  • “I think [brands are] trying to see what the potential applications are,” Sky Canaves, senior analyst at Insider Intelligence, previously told Retail Brew. “They’re trying to establish road maps for routes that don’t yet exist, but they’re trying to get a sense of what the landscape is going to be like.”

The supply chain: One of the most overlooked trends from last year lost steam this year as inflation took the spotlight (more on that later). Roughly 14% of Retail Brew readers said concerns regarding supply chain were overhyped.

Retailers, however, are still reeling from the supply-chain disasters that plagued 2021. Laura Burget, co-founder of Canadian beauty brand Three Ships, previously told Retail Brew that while the company has only 18 SKUs, ingredients for its products are still very difficult to track as they come from multiple countries.

But supply-chain bottlenecks at ports have unclogged over the course of the year, as factories, railroads, ports, warehouses and freight yards have nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels.

  • “If you ask, ‘How long does it take to move stuff?’, there has been notable improvement. If you measure it by how long would it take to get a cargo from Asia to a destination port—dramatically better,” Phil Levy, chief economist at the supply chain consultancy Flexport, recently told the Associated Press.  


Inflation: Inflation arguably affected retailers the most this year and Retail Brew readers still believe it was overlooked. Almost one in five (18.9%) readers believe this to be the case. The effects of inflation had wide-reaching implications for numerous segments of the industry, including inventory and labor.

Inflation has affected how consumers shop as they loaded up on the essentials and eschewed the popular pandemic-era purchases, leading retailers like Walmart and Target stacked with extra inventory that was sharply discounted.

  • November 2022 prices had increased 7.1% compared to November 2021, which experts say should start offering relief for cash-strapped consumers.
  • It should be noted that 47.7% of our respondents believe inflation will be the No. 1 trend in 2023.
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“While continued pressures in the sticky/labor-intensive components are still a concern, they were more than offset by deflation in the goods economy. This will be the dynamic to watch moving forward,” John Luke Tyner, fixed income analyst at Aptus Capital Advisors, told Kiplinger.

Inventory levels: As previously mentioned, inflation’s effects had a direct impact on inventory levels for retailers who were overstocked on pandemic-era goods (17.2% of Retail Brew readers believe this was overlooked this year).

And US retailers are still struggling to shed that inventory. The average amount of inventory held by the 20 largest public apparel companies was up 26% compared to 2019 pre-pandemic levels, according to Bloomberg.

  • This has made the holiday shopping season critical for retailers looking to do away with extra merchandise.
  • Some experts believe inventory issues to persist, with inventory levels at Target, for example, showing improvement but still a problem for the retailer. Our readers (13.9%) believe this is the second most important trend moving into the New Year.—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.