Commerce 2040: The Reinvention of Retail for a Digital World

October 2021

Euromonitor International’s Commerce 2040 series outlines a vision for how consumers might shop in two decades. This report focues on how retail is evolving and considers the competing forces that will influence how shopping behaviour both online and in store will evolve in the years to come. By depicting this long-term view, companies can take meaningful action today to adapt to the changing retail landscape in the digital era.

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This report comes in PPT.

Key findings

Commerce 2040 explores how commerce might evolve in the future

This Commerce 2040 series explores how new technologies will continue to change the world and focuses on the impact these shifts will have on the future of commerce, both in terms of how it might evolve and what avenues might emerge.

How retail has - and has not - changed

While the retail industry is amid radical shifts, the principles for conducting business have not changed, even in the digital era. Nonetheless, the extent to which digital elevates consumer expectations is - and will continue - changing.

Technological shifts place greater emphasis on the consumer experience

The evolution of the shopping journey is one of the most pervasive trends reinventing retail today. While purchases in the past were transactional in nature, now shopping is a journey, where the purpose is not just about buying, but also relationship building.

Competing forces converge to reshape tomorrow’s retail landscape

There are several competing forces at play that taken together will dictate how the retail industry evolves. These competing forces range from the role of humans versus bots in the commerce experience to whether consumers shop online versus in store to shifting power dynamics between retailers and brands.

The future of retail is likely to take slightly different forms as a result of local and category specific nuances

How these competing forces take shape and where specific countries, companies and consumers land on the continuum will reshape the industry. In most cases, there is no right or wrong answer. The question relies on where the retailer or brand sees itself on the continuum and if that aligns with its consumer base


Key findings
Commerce 2040 series explores how commerce might evolve in the next 20 years
Neighbourhood of old might be in vogue again following tech infusion
How the neighbourhood of the future might look come 2040
Euromonitor’s virtual event brings Commerce 2040 to life
How retail has - and has not - changed
Technological shifts place greater emphasis on the consumer experience
The key drivers reshaping the world are having a profound impact on retail
Understanding how industry and consumer dynamics are reshaping retail
Exploring how industry dynamics are converging to drive retail forward
Widespread connectivity is behind many of the consumer trends reshaping retail
Competing forces converge to reshape tomorrow’s retail landscape
How 10 competing forces are reshaping the future of retail (1)
How 10 competing forces are reshaping the future of retail (2)
Consumers vs Companies: understanding the competing forces
Retailers vs Brands: understanding the competing forces
Efficiency vs Effectiveness: understanding the competing forces
Value vs Values: understanding the competing forces
Personalisation vs Privacy: understanding the competing forces
Choice vs Curation: understanding the competing forces
Physical vs Virtual: understanding the competing forces
Consumption vs Minimalism: understanding the competing forces
Human vs Bot: understanding the competing forces
Exclusivity vs Accessibility: understanding the competing forces
These 10 competing forces provide a framework for understanding how retail might evolve
Scenario 1: digitally devised
Scenario 2: climate crisis
Scenario 3: exclusive experiences
The reinvention of retail will be explored in more depth as part of the Commerce 2040 series
About Euromonitor’s Syndicated Channel Research
About Euromonitor’s Consulting Innovation Practice


Retail is the sale of new and used goods to consumers from a business for personal or household consumption from retail outlets, kiosks, market stalls, vending, direct selling and e-commerce. Retail is the aggregation of Retail Offline and Retail E-Commerce. Excludes specialist retailers of motor vehicles, motorcycles, vehicle parts. Also excludes fuel sales, foodservice sales, rental transactions, and wholesale sales (e.g. Cash and Carry). Sales value excluding or including VAT/Sales Tax. Retail also excludes the informal retail sector. Informal retailing is retail trade which is not declared to the tax authorities. Informal retailing encompasses (a) sales generated by unregistered and unlicensed retailers, i.e. retailers operating illegally, and (b) any proportion of sales generated by a registered and licensed retailer that is not declared to the tax authorities. Unregistered and unlicensed retailers operate predominantly (although not exclusively) as street hawkers or operate open market stalls, as these channels are harder for the authorities to monitor than permanent outlets. Activities in the illegal market, which is usually understood to refer to trade in illegal, counterfeit or stolen merchandise, are included within our definition of informal retailing. Activities in the “grey market”, which is usually understood to refer to trade in legal merchandise that is sold through unauthorized channels – for example cigarettes bought legally in another country, legally imported, but sold at lower prices than in authorized channels – will be included as informal retailing if no tax is paid on sale by the retailer. However if the retailer pays tax – for example on cigarettes bought legally in another country but sold at a lower price than standard – the sale is included within formal retail.

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