Industry Division G is about retail trade. Its about the purchasing and on-selling of goods to the public, where those goods do not undergo any significant transformation. It is an industry that has had a very long history. Picture, if you will, how it used to be: itinerant peddlers trudging along ancient trade routes. To how it is now — a panoply of goods moving quickly from one part of the globe to another. Much has changed — the market is now full of people and organisations selling bits (digital goods), as well as atoms (physical goods). And so, that is what this article is about — change. Specifically, what could happen in the retail industry over the next 10 or so years? From an individual perspective (eg. career prospects) and from an organisational perspective (eg. business prospects) it’s a look at what is likely to change as time progresses. These are Insights from a futurist on this industry — a perspective on what could be.
As with other articles exploring the future for different Industry divisions, the focus is just on the impact of two global megatrends — computerisation and climate change. Societal and demographic global megatrends are other global megatrends (eg. global population is set to reach about 10 billion by mid-century. And religious affiliation is shifting from its current 31% Christian, 24% Muslim, 15% Hindu, & 16% unaffiliated to 32% Christian, 31% Muslim, 14% Hindu & 13% unaffiliated at about the same time the 10 billion figure is reached). These other megatrends may not have as much influence on retail trade as the two that are the focus of this article.
About the global megatrend of climate change
Through observations, we understand that ocean temperatures are rising and that the number of extreme weather events are increasing. What has also been a slow but sure drift in what has been observed of local weather patterns. These are measurably shifting, with a consequent impact upon local economies — whether they be in rural or urban, coastal or inland locales (eg. over the last 50 years the region that is classified as “the tropics” has expanded poleward by between 110 and 320km).
And so, without a globally significant and sustained effort at combating climate change we will witness a rising intensity and frequency of heavy precipitation. Likewise…