Home Research Global Powers of Retailing 2017: The art and science of customers

Global Powers of Retailing 2017: The art and science of customers


The 20th annual Global Powers of Retailing identifies the 250 largest retailers around the world based on publicly available data for FY2015 (encompassing companies’ fiscal years ended through June 2016), and analyzes their performance across geographies, sectors, and channels. It also provides a look at the world’s 50 biggest e-retailers and the 50 fastest-growing retailers.

Although the global economy struggled to gain momentum, the Global Powers of Retailing Top 250 achieved profitable growth in FY2015, generating aggregate retail revenues of US$4.31 trillion and resulting in an average size of US$17.2 billion per company.

Global Powers of Retailing 2017: The art and science of customers is much more than a list, however. Deloitte’s Chief Global Economist, Ira Kalish, provides a global economic outlook, forecasting how trends – including globalization, deflation and commodity prices – will impact retail growth or disruption over the next year.

The report also discusses the art and science of customer engagement to help retailers design fresh experiences, enabled by the right technology, and strengthen customer loyalty. While the five trends discussed are not new, what is interesting for 2017 is that what was once futuristic is now table stakes. Retail innovators know technology is no longer supplemental to the shopping experience, it is fundamental. Technology alone, however, is not enough. Customers are seeking new and surprising products and experiences.

The five trends identified are:

  • Changing preferences: Less is more. Customers are defining themselves less by how many things they own and more by how curated their lives are in terms of possessions and experiences.
  • Changing preferences: “Following” economy. Customers are seeking experiences and products that reflect the personal brand they promote on social media.
  • Changing formats: “Retailization” of the world. The maker movement, the sharing economy, and other factors have made it increasingly difficult to define what a retailer is and does.
  • Changing formats: On-demand shopping and fulfillment. Relevancy will be determined by the ability of retailers to meet the on-demand mindset of the modern customer.
  • Changing expectations: Exponential living. Exponential technologies are changing how we live and how we will shop.

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