Category Archives: Retail

Here we keep you up to date with the latest home improvement retailing trends for the UK market. Tying in closely with our Consumer trend category, we assess the impact consumer purchasing trends have on retailers and how they can adapt to these trends to bring them closer to their customers

Take 50 Pop-Up Shops


The ‘Pop-Up’ is one of the retailing buzzwords of the last few years and has become the 21st century model for retailing.

Flexible, agile and engaging, Pop-ups offer a temporary, low-risk way to test new markets and reach new customers, as well communicate specialist collections and collaborations.

Brands, both large and small, have used pop-ups in locations all over the world.  See a round-up of the top 50 pop-up shops collated by Insider Trends




Retail Trends and their influence on the KBB Market 2018


Our round up of retail trends sheds light on where retailing is going in the future and how this will influence KBB retailers. 

We focus on how the different trends interact with each other and they will determine the way in which consumers will want to buy their kitchens, bathrooms and surfaces in the future.


This cross-category report will be published in October 2018

If you are one of our Insight Partners, this report will automatically be added to your account


Ikea launches furniture range for pets

Ikea pet furniture range

Have you ever felt like your cat or dog wasn’t just a pet, but a member of the family?  You are not alone.

IKEA felt there was a gap in the market for reasonably priced, but nice-looking pet products and developed a pet product range.  The new LURVIG collection, which means “hairy” in Swedish, was launched in five countries — Japan, France, Canada, U.S and Portugal at the start of October.

Ikea pet furniture range

Created by pet loving designer, Inma Burmudez,  with support from veterinarians,  according to Ikea “the range covers all the bases of our shared life with pets indoors and out, so you and your pet can enjoy your home together“.

Ikea furniture for cats

Ikea furniture for dogs

Source:  Ikea 

Welcome to the Home of the Future

Unruly Home of the Future

Ad-Tech company, Unruly has unveiled Home, a 2,000-square foot apartment which aims to show what the home of the future will see, hear, feel, taste and smell like.

This new space showcases actual and conceptual internet of things (IoT) gadgets, and combines emerging technology with the latest research from anthropologists, interior designers and experts in well-being to show how marketers can authentically engage with consumers in the connected home.

The apartment is a collaboration with over 25 innovation partners including Dixons Carphone, Dow Jones, Harper Collins, Heineken, HTC Vive, Matterport, PepsiCo,®, Sky, The Sun,, The White Company, The Wall Street Journal and Withings (part of Nokia).

Home of the Future

Complete with a living room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and children’s room, Home is packed with connected devices, all of which present opportunities for brands.  A kitchen that orders food for you and tells you what to cook based on ingredients left in your fridge. A hallway that says hello, makes you coffee and plays songs and displays art that match your mood. And a bedroom that tracks your sleep and helps you choose your outfit depending on the weather forecast.

Unruly CEO Sarah Wood said: “Brands that are passionate about the consumer experience and keen to understand the value they can bring to consumers in their home will be the ones who make the most of this opportunity.

“Home will give marketers a synapse-tingling shot of the future. It will help brands and agencies future-proof their marketing strategies, demonstrating how connected tech will enable brands to share their stories with consumers in new and exciting ways.

According to the Unruly Future Home Study, 84% of UK consumers would be open to brands engaging with them in the connected home, while 67% of Brits think a connected home will make their lives happier, safer or healthier. Just under two-thirds (60%) think artificial intelligence (AI) and robots will be an essential part of the future.

However, consumer responses also demonstrate the need for brands to interact responsibly within the connected home, with 84% considering home as their sanctuary and 43% worried about security. Meanwhile, ‘invade my privacy’ was given as the most annoying thing a brand could do in the home.

Other findings from the Unruly Future Home Study, in which 1,000 people from across the UK were asked the best way for brands to interact with them in the connected home, include:

  • 55% of Brits would rather buy washing powder through a button on their connected washing machines than go to the shops
  • Saving money (61%) was the biggest reason Brits are interested in having a connected home
  • The living room is the room where Brits are the most happy to engage with brands (52%). The kitchen is the second (45%).

Visit the Home digital hub to arrange a visit, view the list of partners and download the full survey findings.


Source: Unruly


The trend for augmented reality hits the bathroom industry

Bathstore leads the way in bathroom retailing with it’s newly launched augmented reality service.

Developed in partnership with KBB CAD software specialist, Articad, the service lets customers “virtually” enter, walk around and explore their new bathroom design, enabling ideas and concepts to be fully visualised.  This is done by letting customers use a Bathroom viewAR-enabled tablet and viewing 3D designs with the Pan360 room viewer.

Augmented reality is one of the ways forward-thinking retailers are now using to create a shopping ‘experience’ for their customers.  In an ever-more competitive 
and challenging retail landscape, offering an interactive element to shoppers which blurs the line between what is real and what is computer-generated allows consumers to immerse themselves in the brand experience and removes the hard-sell element of retailing.

Will 2017 be the year of the Smart Home?

Smart Home Technology

Smart Home technology has reached a pivotal point in its development, where the surrounding hype is teetering on the edge of convincing the sceptical consumer. 

Perceived high prices and doubts about the reliability of the technology has led to sluggish sales in the UK, but recent research by Deloitte indicates that this is set to change.

What is a Smart Home?

Ask this question twenty years ago and having your lights on a plug-in timer would have been considered smart home technology.  With more ‘smart’ devices coming onto the market at an increasing fast pace, the term ‘smart home device’ today covers anything in the home that can be controlled remotely by a smartphone, tablet or computer; from a thermostat that ‘learns’ your desired temperature throughout the day to a washing machine that orders your washing powder before you run out.

However, this is an industry more concerned about competition than collaboration and there are very few worldwide accepted industry standards for smart home devices.

Market Drivers

In 2016 80 million smart home devices were delivered world-wide (Source IHS Markit).  This is up 64% on 2015 with predictions being made suggesting that 130 million devices will be delivered in 2017 and by 2020 13.5 billion consumer items are expected to be connected to the web (Source Gartner)

The home entertainment sector has led the way in the Smart Home and consumers are already accepting of and appear to understand the benefits of a smart TV, a games console or wireless speakers

Energy management systems such as Nest are expected to be the next major drivers of the Smart Home market growth, closely followed by smart security devices and smart lighting; all areas where there is a definable financial or comfort benefit to the home owner.   Deloitte suggest that two fifths of people plan to replace lighting, thermostats and security devices with connected devices once they need to.

And as consumers start to become more aware of how smart technology has the potential to make life in the home easier, smart devices that will enable the ill or elderly to stay in their own homes or in assisted living situations longer are also expected to push market growth.

The majority of new home appliances are now ‘smart-ready’ with connected features as standard. As consumers replace their old kettles, ovens, fridges and lighting in the coming years, there will be a gradual escalation of Smart Home adoption.  By speeding up the replacement cycle through promotions, in-store demonstration and targeted marketing campaigns, retailers can potentially drive faster market growth.

Barriers to Sales of Smart Home Technology

Although the technology is improving and the pricing is stabilizing – coming down even, the main barrier remains the indifference to ‘smart’ devices and appliances; consumers simply don’t ask for them or understand the relevant to their own homes.

Smart Home technology is not yet considered a selling point for properties, according to estate agents, especially in older properties, although there is a growing expectation that it will be included in a high-end new build property.

Trend-Monitor’s recent research into kitchen purchase behaviour found that although the inclusion of a smart kitchen appliance when purchasing a complete new kitchen had increased significantly over the 3 year research time-frame, this was from a very low base.  And 35% of those homeowners who didn’t have any smart kitchen appliances didn’t think the technology was relevant for their own kitchen, with a further 23% being unaware that the technology was available.

Convincing the consumer that the technology actually works has proved a stumbling block to sales.    There is evidence that stores have benefited from increased sales where they have allowed consumers to try out the technology for themselves with advice from store assistants.  John Lewis, for example, has dedicated space in its Oxford Street store in London to the smart home, and is actively demonstrating what it is and how it can make homeowners’ lives easier

At this stage in the development of Smart Home technology, creating a fully automated home is hard work for the consumer.  A confusing lack of interconnection between devices and an incohesive consumer offer means that research is required to understand the different platforms and which devices are compatible with each other before each device is manually connected once in the home.

Suspicions surrounding personal privacy and the potential danger of a cyber-attack via your fridge have not yet been fully addressed.  The Deloitte research shows that 13 per cent of people are holding back from buying connected devices because they are concerned about their device getting hacked, while 11 per cent do not want their usage data accessed by companies.

A Question of When not If

Despite a slow start to sales of connected devices, Deloitte reports that two-thirds of consumers (66 per cent) agree that connected devices have the potential to make their lives easier, rising to 91 per cent for 18-to-24-year olds.   And whilst low ownership of these devices is unlikely to change dramatically in the next 12 months, interest in the automated home is growing, albeit not expected to follow a smooth trajectory over the next few years.

Instead growth is likely to come in stages as different categories take off.  The fast replacement cycle of TV’s and sound systems means that this category is already ahead of the rest of the smart home market.  The next stage of growth is looking to be home monitoring and security as consumers can easily see the benefits of automating these areas.

Following behind is the connected kitchen – the longer replacement cycle of ovens and fridges means that this market could take some time to catch up.

The connected bathroom is an area that few consumers are considering at this stage and the statement in KBBreview from Roca’s corporate marketing director, Carlos Velázquez, claiming that the mid-market was not ready for smart home bathroom solutions, will come as no surprise to the bathroom industry.   Like many home improvement brands, Roca are choosing to bide their time until there is stronger evidence of consumer demand before launching a smart product.

The Smart Home market is still in its infancy and for it to reach its full potential it is becoming increasing clear that there is a need for a secure, standardised operating system for the home which brands can build on. Until this happens, the different categories will remain fragmented and consumers will continue to be sceptical about the benefits and security of a fully-automated home.


Also posted on Linkedin

The Changing Consumer podcast from the KBB Conference

Changing Consumer podcast

At the kbbreview Retail and Design Conference 2016 Trend-Monitor’s Research Director, Jane Blakeborough, took part in a panel discussion about the Changing Consumer.

A podcast of this discussion is now available.

Alongside Graham Jones, Sales and Marketing Director of Mereway Kitchens,  and Tina Riley, Managing Director of retailer Modern Homes, Jane identified some key consumer trends which are influencing the way consumers purchase new bathrooms, discussing research prior to purchase, individualism, bargain hunting, environmental issues and much more.

Click on the image below to listen to this session via Youtube or follow this link


Note:  J M Blake Associates is now part of Trend-Monitor Ltd


Global Retail Trends to think about for 2017


Trends are global, they travel across every sector.  No market or territory is immune

Matthew Brown, Echochamber

If you want to understand how the retail landscape is responding to global megatrends, have a look at this inspirational publication by Echochamber, which showcases the latest trends in retail from across the globe.


Samsung 837 screen

Samsung, New York – The store that’s not a store



B8ta, Palo Alto – incubating innovative start-up projects


Nike SoHo

Nike SoHo Flagship, New York – The ultimate expert experience



Amazon Books, Seattle – Retail meets ‘Metail’



Supervalu Blackrock, Dublin – Next generation supermarket



Victoria Gate, Leeds – The traditional arcade reinvented



Barneys Chelsea, New York – A clearly defined target market



Gentle Monster, Shanghai and Beijing – Keeping retail exciting



KitKat Chocolatory, London – Crafted personalisation



Ikea Dining Club Pop-up, London – A truly multi-channelled approach

Find the full report here >>



A Cashless Future

contactless payments

By 2025, three quarters of payments in Britain are expected to be made without notes or coins. And former Barclays chief executive, Antony Jenkins, has already predicted the end of banks as we know them within two decades.

What’s the point of these antiquated vaults”, he suggested, “when all that’s really needed to underpin the movement of wealth around the globe is a vast electronic ledger tracking who’s worth what, and some nifty apps for shunting it between us?”

In August 2016, Waitrose became the UK’s first major supermarket brand to operate a cashless store, where only card and mobile payments are accepted.  This is in the wake of on-the-go food retailer, Tossed, opening two cashless restaurants in London earlier that month, hoping that this would speed up transactions and allow staff to focus on the fast production of fresh food.

The Waitrose in question is not open to the wider public but is instead situated in broadcaster Sky’s new flagship head office building, at its campus in Osterley. The second smallest store in the grocer’s estate at 1,400 sq ft, the facility serves 3,500 Sky employees.  The five self-service checkouts in the store accept credit, debit and contactless card payments, as well as mCommerce tools that use near-field communication technology such as Apple Pay.

Statistics show that card spending has risen exponentially year-on-year for a decade, with the UK leading the way.

Cashless transactions
UK Cards Association figures show that almost £4 in every £5 of spending at British retailers is now made through debit and credit cards, while contactless payments continue to grow in popularity. In January 2016 alone, some £1.1 billion was spent in the UK using a contactless card.

Debit and credit card sales accounted for 77 per cent of the total retail spend in May 2016, with 18 per cent of all card purchase being made on contactless cards, compared to 7 per cent in May 2015.

The British Retail Consortium said: “Retailers welcome the convenience provided by contactless which provides a fast and easy method of payment for our customers, as we have seen through the huge growth of contactless payment terminals in retail outlets across the UK over the past 2 years, and the ever increasing volume of online sales”.

However, the demise of cash has not been as rapid as some predicted and according to The British Retail Consortium “Cash nevertheless remains the payment method of choice for a significant number of customers and the most cost effective way for retailers to accept payments.”

In 2015 cash was still overall the most popular form of payment, but it was the first year that it had slipped below the 50 per cent mark, accounting for 48 per cent of all transactions, compared with 24 per cent for debit cards and 10 per cent for direct debit

As the use of cash continues to decline, what will take its place?

Jesse McWaters, project lead of disruptive innovation in financial services at the World Economic Forum, predicts three key systemic changes: the triumph of the “default card”, the card that consumers use in online and mobile payments; expecting this to be a debit card, he predicts the death of the credit card; and he expects digital currency systems to modernise the payments infrastructure.


John Lewis Retail Report for 2016

John Lewis Retail Report 2016

The latest annual retail report from department store giant John Lewis looks back at 2016, a year that has been remarkable in many ways, full of political, cultural and economic upheaval.  

In the face of these changes, John Lewis has identified a more confident customer, who has emerged into 2017 with a braver, bolder style and increasingly sophisticated expectations.

Their report looks at how retail is evolving to meet this challenging new consumer with stimulating in-store experiences and inspirational websites, with John Lewis taking this a step further by aiming to understand their customers’ mindset and meet their needs at any given moment.

The report reveals evidence of plenty of ‘brave not beige’ purchases for the home and consumer expectations of inspiring, unusual and best quality products

Download the full report here >>