Retail Dive | January 12, 2021
The pandemic’s arrival in March 2020 meant that it didn’t make Retail Dive’s trends to watch last year, but it completely upended all expectations for the year.
The health crisis was closely followed by the whole industry throughout 2020, courtesy of the havoc it wreaked on retail operations. Stores were forced closed, employees were furloughed or laid off, rent was skipped, supply chains were strained.
Headed into 2021, retailers have survived the immediate triage period, but the pandemic is still very much present and will continue to shape the year ahead. Indeed, the ability of the crisis to cause more problems, or abate them, depending on how the world recovers will perhaps have the largest effect on the industry this year.
The pandemic is a thread weaving through almost every trend the industry faces in 2021, in some cases speeding up inevitable changes many years in the making and in others sparking unexpected developments. Whatever this year brings, the changes driven by the convergence of the pandemic and longstanding industry tailwinds will influence what retailers do and reshape the industry.
Here’s what Retail Dive is tracking in 2021.