New year, new you
7 Jan 2022
This week: Boom, it’s 2022. What happens now?
Well, if you’re here – we’ve made it to the other side.
Unless you hit open ‘cause you’re cleaning out your inbox? (Maybe wait ‘till you’ve finished reading to hit unsubscribe).
To ring in the New Year, we’re mighty proud to bring you a sprinkling of ‘21 insights and ’22 resolutions from members of the Appear Here community, along with experts further afield.
• 2021 saw IRL spending “grow at its strongest clip in a decade,” reported the fine folks at Retail Brew. “There has been a lot of discussion about all the growth in e-commerce, but not as much about the profitability and the challenges and some of the massive changes that are going to have to occur for that to be sustainable,” said Steve Dennis, founder of SageBerry Consulting. One particular pain point? The deluge of post-holiday returns. Around 20-30% of online orders are sent back, as opposed to 9% of brick-and-mortar purchases.
• The decentralization of retail continued unabated. “The post-pandemic store is hyper-local, social, flexible, grounded in digital and ever changing,” wrote Chantal Fernandez in The Business of Fashion’s Daily Digest. City centers seemed to miniaturize and multiply as commuting patterns got rewired. “[Shoreditch] is a great location to get people learning about a completely new hospitality business with a novel concept: a Chinese bakery outside of Chinatown,” said Aaron Mo, founder of Ong Ong Buns. “People like what we do and talk about us.”
• Let’s not gloss over what went down last year, though. “Lows? Oh, a many number! Such is the nature of the job. Though, we rebrand them as 'challenges,'” said Emily Schildt, founder of Pop Up Grocer. “I'd say navigating an ever-changing and unpredictable commercial real estate landscape; the exhaustion of decision-making amidst a seemingly never-ending public health crisis; and the fact that despite all our strides, women own 42% of all companies in the U.S. and still receive less than 3% of all venture funding.”
As the end-of-year reports come in, there are some linings of silver. The U.S. saw strong holiday sales, with a lift in IRL spending. The number of indie bookstores in the country is up 30%. The UK also saw a rise in the number of locally run shops last year, with about half of empty Topshop stores occupied by indie operators. Shoppers are “increasingly concerned with the provenance of products, sustainability, and supporting local businesses,” said Lucy Stainton, commercial director at the Local Data Company.
“I make predictions, which is a shitty business,” wrote legendary marketing professor Scott Galloway in Marker.
Predictions? We’ll leave those to the professionals. “In 2022, we welcome The Great Re-engagement, a time when humans will reconnect consciously, purposefully and rationally with the world around them,” pronounced the futurists at (where else) The Future Laboratory.
• But like, what are we gonna wear? “Sequins to the office for no good reason,” said Bozoma Saint John, CMO at Netflix. A wardrobe overhaul is in the cards, with Stitch Fix predicting the continued rise of dresses and denim. Global searches for party outfits were already up 200% in 2021. “Getting out of sweatpants and tracksuits, we’ve had enough of casual dressing,” said Coco Kenneally, head of retail at fashion brand Jovonna. “[It’s] the time to dress dramatic!” declared Nylon.
• “50% of global consumers say the pandemic caused them to rethink their purpose and re-evaluate what’s important in life. Nearly everything about how we live, work and shop is different than it was two years ago,” reported Forbes. Indulgence is in. When times get tough, the tough… treat themselves? “It’s certainly an exciting time in our industry, Covid aside. We are seeing consumers really starting to shift to more premium dessert offerings and sweet treats,” said Angie Gewargis, founder of MyCookieDough.
• From “eatertainment” in food to “denfluencers” (yeah that’s right, dental influencers) in beauty – hybridization and unlikely collaborations will be recurring themes across industries. “I've made the intention to expand my network in 2022. I'm unlearning and relearning that relying on other people is not a weakness, and is in fact a necessity to succeed as a business owner,” said Emily Schildt, founder of Pop Up Grocer. “Basically, do you want to hang in 2022?”
Whatever your New Year’s resolution – or lack thereof – might be, ritualizing the start of the year is an ancient impulse dating back to the Babylonians. (Life hack: if you share your goal with someone, the more likely you are to stick to it).
When you realize 2022 is pronounced 2020 too? Promise not to panic.
Words by Amy Tai, creative consultant and native New Yorker now based in London.