Authored by: Leigh N. Todd, CFA, Brian Blongastainer, CFA, CMT, Katherine Kelly & Sunguk Choi
Most people think of technology when they think of change. The rate of change of technology has had the steepest slope in our lifetimes than any other time in history. The modern conveniences of smart phones has made it easier to navigate rush hour traffic and pay our bills, but it has also changed the way we shop—drastically. Browse through the top Instagram personalities, and you'll find an amalgamation of lavish lifestyles and brand promotions that influence millions of people. What's more, it's never been easier to add to a cart without leaving the comfort of your home. Since 2010, online sales has contributed the most to retail sales growth. The only thing that changes faster than technology is consumer preferences, and social media is the invisible hand guiding it all.
Beyond technological innovation, consumers' shopping preferences change because of improved experience and convenience. Physical stores once replaced mail order because it took less time. Later, malls replaced local businesses as they had greater selection. Now, with online access and digital ordering, same-day delivery, selection and convenience have never been better. Consumer companies that succeed in today's digital world adapt to and benefit from the rapid changes in customer discovery and dissemination.