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Retail recap: The year of ‘conscious consumerism’

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SAN FRANCISCO — 2021 was the year the world got smaller, and this was ever present across the retail industry, according to the online retail platform RangeMe.

RangeMe analyzed data from more than 15,000 retail buyers and over 200,000 product suppliers on its platform to help report the latest trends. Results show an increased interest in “conscious consumerism” is driving future purchases and consumer buying habits.

Conscious consumerism led to shopping small and local, to consumers identifying diverse brands, and to an increase in choosing sustainable and domestic-made products, according to RangeMe.

An extended period of working from home also led to the massive rise in convenience and adoption of rapid local delivery, as we see with the rise of DoorDash, UberEats, Deliveroo and Gorillas.

In the United States the focus was on “natural,” “authentic” and “vegan” as well seeing a rise in searching for convenience, including “frozen” food and “chocolate.”

The 800,000 products featured on RangeMe are categorized into collections and data analysis shows the three most popular and searched collections in 2021 were;

  • Supplier Diversity, which features suppliers from diverse business backgrounds to boost economic development.
  • Plant Based, which showcases cutting-edge brands and products redefining retail.
  • Work from Home, identifying products that enhance the home office or experience.

An increase in conscious consumerism is inevitably reflected in the adoption of various global certifications. In 2021 RangeMe partnered with more than 25 new certification organizations including The Vegan Society, Fairtrade America, Paleo Foundation, the Global Animal Partnership, and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.

“We have identified four core areas we predict will be on trend this year,” RangeMe CEO and founder Nick Jackson said. “Consumers will demand to see proof of ESG initiatives and won’t accept greenwashing but will expect to see inclusivity and diversity introduced at every opportunity. The rapid delivery movement will establish a few big players while retailers compete to win loyalty from consumers.”

Continued Jackson, “Connection between brand and customer will become a focus for retailers and this is where the direct-to-consumer business model will play an important role as will social media and livestreaming and real-time purchasing. Finally, retail brands will invest more in their supply chains as many have learned the hard way in late 2021.”


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