2011 Consumer Retail Trends

In this competitive retail environment, retailers have their eyes fixed directly on the latest trends in consumer spending. Staying one step ahead of the ever changing retail landscape is a top priority. 2011 consumer retail trends include a slight increase in consumer spending, while unemployment and wages have remained stagnant. With mixed messages like those, marketers are paying closer attention to the needs of their consumers. One immediate result is an increased attention to customer service. According to RetailingWithConfidence.com, recently popular coupon promotions are so overdone, there's even a reality TV show focused on the practice. The only way to discount from that point is to give products away free. And that brings us to another trend of 2011, freebies. Cash strapped consumers love a free give-away. Not only do freebie promotions expose brands to potential new customers, they create something marketers value even more - a relationship with their customer.

Other 2011 consumer retail trends include increased use of technology. Smart phones are becoming the bridge between consumers and retailers. They have become walking GPS systems for customer hungry retailers. Through the consumer's phone, a marketer can convey advertising messages, temporary discounts and even search the customer's past purchases to alert them to new items or sales they might be interested in. Retailers can even target customers whenever the GPS in their phones indicate they're in the vicinity of the store.

At the register, the same smart phone takes the place of the historic coupon, carrying the coupon code in the message. And if that weren't enough, the smart phone is also the customer's credit card. One swipe over the checkout pad and the payment is automatically made.

While smart phones and an increased demand for attention to customer needs aren't the only 2011 consumer retail trends, they are the most important. Spending, costs and retail foot traffic appear to be an extension of 2010 where consumers earned less, spent less and were frugal about their purchases. Finding out what customers need and want, coupled with making it easier for them to find, is the trend for 2011.


A master of freebies marketing for retail / consumer packaged good companies. Writing about how free sample marketing can revolutionize retail / CPG companies digitally. Looking to try your own free sample marketing campaign? Contact us.

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