Top Retail Themes in 2023 – Thematic Intelligence

Powered by

All the vital news, analysis, and commentary curated by our industry experts.

Top Retail Themes Thematic Intelligence Report Overview

GlobalData has developed a unique thematic research ecosystem designed to take a holistic view of the big themes that impact companies in the retail industry. The ‘Top Retail Themes in 2023’ thematic intelligence report breaks down the top themes expected to impact the retail sector in 2023. For each theme, it offers a definition of the theme, highlights trends and opportunities, and then gives key considerations for brands and manufacturers.

Report Pages 17
Top Themes Inflation, Market Polarization, Mergers & Acquisitions, ESG, and Omnichannel: The Post Omnichannel Era
Enquire & Decide Discover the perfect solution for your business needs. Enquire now and let us help you make an informed decision before making a purchase.

Retail Theme Map 

Some of the biggest themes that are impacting the retail sector are inflation, market polarization, mergers & acquisitions, ESG, and omnichannel: the post-omnichannel era. The graphic below depicts the 2023 theme map for the retail sector. It highlights the big themes that are driving share prices for retailers and is the result of a series of interviews with senior industry executives and investors, reflecting an up-to-date view of the issues that keep them awake at night.

Market Polarization: Inflation is set to remain above average levels in 2023. Hence, consumers’ discretionary incomes will be squeezed in 2023 and beyond. This means that consumers, and therefore the retail market, will become increasingly polarized. In the apparel sector, the polarization trend is in tandem with increasing consumer awareness of the environmental and ethical implications of purchasing lower quality, higher volume clothing & footwear. As a result, many shoppers are seeking products that offer better value for money, are more versatile, and last longer, so are trading up to premium and luxury players.

Mergers & Acquisitions: With non-essential retail spending set to remain under pressure over the next few years as global inflation continues to be high, mergers & acquisitions (M&As) offer the opportunity for growth for those companies with healthy balance sheets. Retailers can utilize M&As to target rising strategic themes, particularly those in which they would struggle to become experts themselves. For example, in November 2022, Marks & Spencer acquired the intellectual property of fashion marketplace, Thread, which is a specialist in personalization, with the intention of using its technology to improve M&S’ digital shopping experience.

ESG: Consumers’ concerns about the environmental, social, and governance impacts of their retail purchases are rising and hence retailers must take action to retain appeal. Despite physical resale operators like charities, vintage, and thrift shops having been around for many years, the resale apparel market is now skyrocketing due to rising eco-consciousness. The increased dominance of online resale platforms, like Depop and Vinted, and the launch of resale propositions by retailers such as PrettyLittleThing and IKEA, have also supported this growth, especially since the pandemic, when people were forced to find alternative ways to shop amid store closures.z

Retail Sector Theme Map 2023

Retail Sector Theme Map 2023

Buy the Full Report for Biggest Themes Driving Growth in the Retail Sector, Download A Free Report Sample

Retail Sector: Thematic Research Methodology

Companies that invest in the right themes become success stories. Those that miss the important themes in their industry end up as failures.

  • Viewing the world’s data by themes: GlobalData’s thematic research ecosystem is a single, integrated global research platform that provides an easy-to-use framework for tracking all themes across all companies in all sectors.
  • Traditional research: Companies are impacted by multiple themes that frequently conflict with one another. The difficulty in picking tomorrow’s winners and losers in any industry arises from the sheer number of technology cycles – and other themes – that are in full swing right now.
  • Thematic engine: This identifies which companies are best placed to succeed in a future filled with multiple disruptive threats.


GlobalData breaks down the top themes expected to impact the retail sector in 2023.

Key Highlights

While we expect inflation to fall in 2023, it is not forecast to fall to below pre-pandemic 2019 levels even in 2025. The cumulative impact of inflation means that it will take significant time for retail to recover, as it needs real earnings to make up the lost ground.

With inflation set to remain above average levels, consumers’ discretionary incomes will be squeezed in 2023 and beyond. This means that consumers, and therefore the retail market, will become increasingly polarized. The gap between those with higher savings and discretionary incomes, versus those dipping into and then running out of their savings, and racking up debts, will widen significantly.

Consumers’ concerns about the environmental, social and governance impacts of their retail purchases are rising, meaning it is crucial for retailers to take action to retain appeal. As well as implementing obvious strategies like the incorporation of recycled or sustainable materials into products, players are beginning to offer more innovative initiatives too, such as furniture and clothing rental and the launch of their own resale platforms.

With non-essential retail spend set to remain under pressure over the next few years as global inflation continues to be high, mergers & acquisitions offer the opportunity for growth for those companies with healthy balance sheets. The benefits can be a quick route to diversification, enhancing technology prowess and acquiring customers, which in turn should boost sales.

Reasons to Buy

  • “Themes are disruptive, so it’s easy to be blindsided by industry outsiders who invade your sector. Understanding the themes ecosystem will get you ahead of the curve.”
  • Understand the themes emerging in 2023, allowing you to grasp a wider view of changes in consumer behavior and how they will impact your markets.
  • Explore how emerging themes in apparel are allowing industry leaders to evolve, so you can better position yourself for long-term success.
  • An easy-to-use framework for tracking themes across all companies in all sectors
  • Companies who invest in the right themes become success stories; those who miss the big themes end up as failures.

Marks & Spencer
Frasers Group
Gieves & Hawkes
boohoo group

Table of Contents


2023 Theme Map


Market Polarization

Mergers & Acquisitions


Omnichannel: The Post-Omnichannel Era


Future Reading

Our Thematic Research Methodology

About GlobalData

Contact Us

Frequently asked questions

Top Retail Themes in 2023 – Thematic Intelligence thematic reports
Currency USD

Can be used by individual purchaser only


Can be shared globally by unlimited users within the purchasing corporation e.g. all employees of a single company

Undecided about purchasing this report?

Enquire Before Buying Request a Free Sample

Get in touch to find out about multi-purchase discounts
Tel +44 20 7947 2745

Every customer’s requirement is unique. With over 220,000 construction projects tracked, we can create a tailored dataset for you based on the types of projects you are looking for. Please get in touch with your specific requirements and we can send you a quote.

Sample Report

Top Retail Themes in 2023 – Thematic Intelligence was curated by the best experts in the industry and we are confident about its unique quality. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer free sample pages to help you:

  • Assess the relevance of the report
  • Evaluate the quality of the report
  • Justify the cost

Download your copy of the sample report and make an informed decision about whether the full report will provide you with the insights and information you need.

Below is a sample report to understand what you are buying

See what our customers are saying

“The GlobalData platform is our go-to tool for intelligence services. GlobalData provides an easy way to access comprehensive intelligence data around multiple sectors, which essentially makes it a one-for-all intelligence platform, for tendering and approaching customers.

GlobalData is very customer orientated, with a high degree of personalised services, which benefits everyday use. The highly detailed project intelligence and forecast reports can be utilised across multiple departments and workflow scopes, from operational to strategic level, and often support strategic decisions. GlobalData Analytics and visualisation solutions has contributed positively when preparing management presentations and strategic papers.”

Business Intelligence & Marketing Manager, SAL Heavy Lift

“COVID-19 has caused significant interference to our business and the COVID-19 intelligence from GlobalData has helped us reach better decisions around strategy. These two highlights have helped enormously to understand the projections into the future concerning our business units, we also utilise the project database to source new projects for Liebherr-Werk to use as an additional source to pitch for new business.”

Market Analyst & Management, Liebherr-Werk

Your daily news has saved me a lot of time and keeps me up-to-date with what is happening in the market, I like that you almost always have a link to the source origin. We also use your market data in our Strategic Business Process to support our business decisions. By having everything in one place on the Intelligence Center it has saved me a lot of time versus looking on different sources, the alert function also helps with this.

Head of Key Accounts, Saab AB

Having used several other market research companies, I find that GlobalData manages to provide that ‘difficult-to-get’ market data that others can’t, as well as very diverse and complete consumer surveys.

Marketing Intelligence Manager, Portugal Foods

Our experience with GlobalData has been very good, from the platform itself to the people. I find that the analysts and the account team have a high level of customer focus and responsiveness and therefore I can always rely on. The platform is more holistic than other providers. It is convenient and almost like a one stop shop. The pricing suite is highly competitive and value for our organisation.

I like reports that inform new segments such as the analysis on generation Z, millennials, the impact of COVID 19 to our banking customers and their new channel habits. Secondly the specialist insight on affluent sector significantly increases our understanding about this group of customers. The combination of those give us depth and breadth of the evolving market.

I’m in the business of answering and helping people make decisions so with the intelligence center I can do that, effectively and efficiently. I can share quickly key insights that answer and satisfy our country stakeholders by giving them many quality studies and primary research about competitive landscape beyond the outlook of our bank. It helps me be seen as an advisory partner and that makes a big difference. A big benefit of our subscription is that no one holds the whole data and because it allows so many people, so many different parts of our organisation have access, it enables all teams to have the same level of knowledge and decision support.

Head of Customer Insight and Research, Standard Chartered

“I know that I can always rely on Globaldata’s work when I’m searching for the right consumer and market insights. I use Globaldata insights to understand the changing market & consumer landscape and help create better taste & wellbeing solutions for our customers in food, beverage and healthcare industries.

Globaldata has the right data and the reports are of very high quality compared to your competitors. Globaldata not only has overall market sizes & consumer insights on food & beverages but also provides insights at the ingredient & flavour level. That is key for B2B companies like Givaudan. This way we understand our customers’ business and also gain insight to our unique industry”

Head of Consumer Sensory Insights, Givaudan

GlobalData provides a great range of information and reports on various sectors that is highly relevant, timely, easy to access and utilise.  The reports and data dashboards help engagement with clients; they provide valuable industry and market insights that can enrich client conversations and can help in the shaping of value propositions. Moreover, using GlobalData products has helped increase my knowledge of the finance sector, the players within it, and the general threats and opportunities.

I find the consumer surveys that are carried out to be extremely beneficial and not something I have seen anywhere else. They provided an insightful view of why and which consumers take (or don’t) particular financial products. This can help shape conversations with clients to ensure they make the right strategic decisions for their business.

One of the challenges I have found is that data in the payments space is often piecemeal. With GD all of the data I need is in one place, but it also comes with additional market reports that provide useful extra context and information. Having the ability to set-up alerts on relevant movements in the industry, be it competitors or customers, and have them emailed directly to me, ensures I get early sight of industry activity and don’t have to search for news.

Senior Account Manager, TSYS
Go even deeper with GlobalData Intelligence Center

Every Company Report we produce is powered by the GlobalData Intelligence Center.

Subscribing to our intelligence platform means you can monitor developments at Top Retail Themes in 2023 – Thematic Intelligence in real time.

  • Access a live Top Retail Themes in 2023 – Thematic Intelligence dashboard for 12 months, with up-to-the-minute insights.
  • Fuel your decision making with real-time deal coverage and media activity.
  • Turn insights on financials, deals, products and pipelines into powerful agents of commercial advantage.