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The State Of Retail and Consumer: Top Takeaways from NRF

The National Retail Federation recently offered its 2024 State of Retail and the Consumer Report, which they presented alongside retail industry leaders including Walmart U.S. President and CEO John Furner, NRF President Matthew Shay, and numerous economic and consumer experts.

Here, the VideoMining team shares some key takeaways for the retail and CPG industry.


Retail Sales Forecasted to Reach at Least $5.23 Trillion This Year

  • National Retail Federation projected that retail sales will increase in 2024 between 2.5% and 3.5% to between $5.23 trillion and $5.28 trillion.  The NRF applauded the resiliency of U.S. consumers who continued to drive economic growth as they navigated continued, but moderate, inflation, and elevated interest rates, noting that consumers have also indicated a favorable outlook on their willingness to spend. All in all, NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay expressed confidence that “there will be moderate but steady growth through the end of the year.” 

Consumer Confidence is Up Year-Over-Year

  • While confidence is up, consumers continue to exercise caution when it comes to budgeting.  The percent of consumers prioritizing what they “need versus what they want” dropped from 47.3% to 46.1% year-over-year.  These insights, derived from consumer behavior analytics, show an encouraging trend, but worth noting that this trend is still dramatically higher than it was in March of 2020, where that number was only 36.7%.

Consumers Are Balancing Daily Diligence with Planned Indulgences

  • Consumers look to make everyday purchases affordable and balanced, however, discretionary spending around health and beauty, and special events, continues to climb, illustrating the revised value equation that continues to guide purchase decisions.

  • Year-over-year, NRF reported an 11% growth in personal care and health products, and consumers report elevated spending levels for special events, including Valentines Day and Easter. This indicates that while day-to-day budgeting remains important, consumer behavior analytics show that consumers are finding moments of indulgence in self-care and special occasions and celebrations.

Walmart CEO Weighs in on the State of the Industry

  • Walmart U.S. CEO John Furner advised the industry that the trend of convenience as an essential attribute of goods and services has no sign of dissipating in our post-pandemic reality, citing the rebalanced approach consumers take towards weighing the value of how they choose to spend their time.

  • Furner offered examples that indicate that consumers continue to desire goods and services that eliminate unwanted friction from their lives and reduce the level of barriers and effort put into purchase decisions. This highlights the importance of retail data analytics in understanding and optimizing the consumer experience.

  • Furner also spoke of the continued need of the retail industry to prioritize knowing, and truly understanding, their customers, finding authentic ways to connect and build empathy. He spoke to the value of customer experiences, and how each experience holds valuable data that can help guide our innovations in ways that will enable us to better serve the customer.

VideoMining’s Philosophy: Extract More (and Better) Data from Retail Touch Points

Our philosophy of customer experience is greatly aligned with that of Furner, and we agree that you can generate valuable data from every element of an experience. That is why we focus our research and strategy development on empirical evidence that helps bring marketers closer to knowing their shopper through observational research. Every reaction, every step, every decision - hold valuable insights that can build transformative retail strategies. It’s up to our industry, now, to embrace this revolution and lean into the shopper insights that can provide a more well-rounded version of the truth.