Global Powers of Retailing 2017 | The art and science of customers

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The 20th annual Global Powers of Retailing identifies the 250 largest retailers around the world based on publicly available data for FY2015 (encompassing companies’ fiscal years ended through June 2016), and analyzes their performance across geographies, sectors, and channels. It also provides a look at the world’s 50 biggest e-retailers and the 50 fastest-growing retailers. 

Although the global economy struggled to gain momentum, the Global Powers of Retailing Top 250 achieved profitable growth in FY2015, generating aggregate retail revenues of US$4.31 trillion and resulting in an average size of US$17.2 billion per company.

Global economic outlook

Slow economic growth in major developed economies, high levels of debt in emerging countries, deflation or low inflation in rich countries and a protectionist backlash against globalisation were among dynamics which contributed to a challenging economic environment for retailers. And yet people still need to shop, so the industry carries on. In some places and with some cohorts of shoppers, the outlook for retailers is favourable.

Seismic shift in retail trends

Over the last 20 years we have seen a seismic shift in retail and the customers that retailers serve. We are living in an era where customers are in the driver’s seat more than ever before and they are craving authenticity, newness, convenience, and creativity. We are living in the customer-driven economy. The report discusses the art and science of customer engagement to help retailers design fresh experiences, enabled by the right technology, and strengthen customer loyalty.

The report also discusses the art and science of customer engagement to help retailers design fresh experiences, enabled by the right technology, and strengthen customer loyalty. While the five trends discussed are not new, what is interesting for 2017 is that what was once futuristic is now table stakes. Retail innovators know technology is no longer supplemental to the shopping experience, it is fundamental. Technology alone, however, is not enough. Customers are seeking new and surprising products and experiences.

The five trends identified are:

  • Changing preferences: Less is more. Customers are defining themselves less by how many things they own and more by how curated their lives are in terms of possessions and experiences.
  • Changing preferences: “Following” economy. Customers are seeking experiences and products that reflect the personal brand they promote on social media.
  • Changing formats: “Retailization” of the world. The maker movement, the sharing economy, and other factors have made it increasingly difficult to define what a retailer is and does.
  • Changing formats: On-demand shopping and fulfillment. Relevancy will be determined by the ability of retailers to meet the on-demand mindset of the modern customer.
  • Changing expectations: Exponential living. Exponential technologies are changing how we live and how we will shop.

Download the full report to learn more.

Global Powers of Retailing 2017

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