【Post-pandemic Era】10 New Trends in the Retail Industry

Irene | Future Department Store
7 min readJun 19, 2022

TEXT_Irene Hung / Full version: Youtube|Irene talks Retail

After more than 2 years of the covid-19 epidemic, the overall economy has been in a relatively sluggish state. However, with the loosening of policies in various countries, we in the post-epidemic era have gradually been able to return to our usual life. In addition, the transformation of business models has also changed and developed many new business to adapt to the new economic system.

As for Taiwan, the market operation also re-started after the downturn. In the first half of 2022, several new shopping malls opened one after another, including Taichung “PARK2 Caowu Square”, Hsinchu “Far Eastern Zhubei Store”, Kaohsiung “SKM Park”, Tainan “Mitsui Outlet Park”, and Kaohsiung “Showtime Live Gangshan”.

The next new shopping malls expected to open in the second half of 2022 include Taichung “Fengyuan Transfer Center Mall”, Taichung “Mitsui Lalaport”, Taipei “Dazhi Zhongtai NOKE”, and Taipei “Diamond Towers”.

I believe that in the era of epidemic, many companies were thinking about new business opportunities and innovations, so I’ve also organized and analyzed the

10 new trends in the retail industry in the post-epidemic era :

1. E-commerce and physical store sales go from competition to cooperation and win-win.

Amazon Style, which is Amazon’s first-ever physical store for clothing, shoes, and accessories. Amazon Style uses innovative technology to help customers find looks at the same great prices as on Amazon.com.

Giants such as Amazon and Shopee, which both started from online e-commerce, have made many strategic policies during the outbreak of the epidemic, including Amazon’s investment of more funds and resources in the offline store brand Amazon Style. Shopee also rapidly opened shop-to-shop in various business districts and residential areas.

Convenience stores such as 7–11, Family Mart; department stores such as Shin Kong Mitsukoshi, Far Eastern, SOGO, Breeze; and mass merchandisers such as Quanlian, which started from brick-and-mortar stores, all put a lot of effort into the development of online markets and e-commerce apps.

2. Experience stores, lifestyle stores, and selection stores have developed maturely. Under the influence of the social media, the retail marketing model of the terminal has changed.

Live streaming has become the most popular way of branding during the pandemic.

The channels for brand and product promotion and introduction have changed dramatically during the epidemic. For example, consumers used to browse the official websites of brand companies in the past, and now they prefer to read social media information such as Instagram.

In addition, when consumers view product reviews, they have gone from browsing bloggers’ articles in the past to watching video communities such as YouTube and Tiktok now.

Traditional media advertisements such as TV and magazines have also been replaced by social marketing, and live streaming. Even in the past, the promotion method of brands spending a lot of money to find endorsements from well-known celebrities has become the current marketing method of finding Internet celebrities which spreads even more quickly.

3. Fast fashion brands raise the demands of environmental issues. Customers appeal for not only the update speed and release of products can be fast, but fashion companies should also have a sustainable concept of recycling and reuse.

Fast fashion’s impact on the planet is immense.

In the production process of fast fashion clothing, from the dyeing of fabrics, the destruction of defects, and even to the delicate and complicated outer packaging, these fast fashion clothing with low prices and disposable materials is not only unfriendly to the environment, but also does not pay attention to labor rights.

Hence, fast fashion brands like H&M of Sweden, ZARA of Spain, GU and Uniqlo of Japan, have made some measurements to improve environmental impacts. For instance,

  • Reduce waste by making clothes from recycled materials that have less impact on the environment.
  • Plastic reduction practices such as abandoning plastic shopping bags and packaging, and encouraging the public to bring their own eco-friendly shopping bags.
  • The production process of jeans consumes a lot of water, from cotton planting, fabric dyeing, to water washing and coloring. Therefore, the newly invented high-efficiency technology can save a lot of water.

4. The emergence of large shopping malls has made the passenger flow more concentrated.

Large malls integrate shopping, catering, and entertainment all together.

Large-scale malls and outlets can meet the diverse needs of consumers because they can combine all-in consumption model, from shopping, eating and drinking, to entertainment, and become a good place for holidays.

The emergence of a vast commercial district has made the flow of customers more concentrated. On the contrary, the flow of people in street-style night markets and department stores with shopping as the main body has declined significantly.

5. Healing and recreational industries are more and more popular.

Art Toy, which integrates multiple elements including art, design, sculpture and animation, the fast growing market of art toys appears to be full of potential in recent years.

There are several healing & recreational industries have been rising rapidly, fields as following,

  • Live Show & Exhibition: “Lore Taipei” combines bar, performing arts and immersive experience.
  • Immersive Experience:《Floating World with Hundred Wishes in Dadaocheng》by “Stupid Studio” was a real escape game that players watched the show and acted in the show simultaneously and then did the puzzle solving.《The Great Tipsy》,《No Light Dinner》by “Surprise Lab”, the former was a game that players can be both audience and actor, and the latter was a completely new experience to dine in the restaurant in the darkness with no light and just to feel the taste and smell within imagination.
  • 3D Immersive Projection Show: “Le Petit Chef” is an immersive theatre and dining combined experience, adopting 3D projection-mapping technology on the dining table, customers can enjoy the adventure with the delicate meals.
  • Green Life with Flowers & Grass Planting: “SUCCULAND” in Taipei, “JJ Walking Floral” in Taichung, “Succulent & Artwork” in Changhua, and “Air Library” in Chiayi are 4 popular green life shops in Taiwan where people can explore stylish plants.
  • Minimalism Compound Café: A large proportion of clean white tones are used as the main color of the store’s style, and different elements are integrated to increase the soul of the store, which soothes people’s hearts.
  • Speakeasy Featured Bar: Various institutions have created a mysterious and exciting atmosphere for the bar.
  • NFT & Contemporary Art Exhibition
  • Art Toy / Animation / IP Craze: Art toys not only allow collectors to bid and collect a series of fashionable toys from their favorite designers, but also become a way to preserve value.

6. Such as games, online office, online videos, online courses, online entertainment…, the virtual market of the metaverse world is building rapidly.

Metaverse is merging reality with virtual world.

The construction of virtual malls, virtual stores, virtual offices, and virtual land has become more and more normal. The combination of cash flow and virtual currency market is a new world with blurred boundaries between virtual and real.

7. More and more professionals have separated from the company system and entered the state of freelancers; more and more Internet celebrities / KOL/ Youtubers pop up and they also become more and more professional; and more and more niche brands are appearing on the market.

Numerous people have turned into freelancers and have had more flexible hours during pandemic.

During the epidemic, everyone spent more time at home. What they needed to do was to use mobile phones and digital products. In addition, many people were forced to accept these new online media, and realized that their future life must be integrated with the Internet.

Furthermore, due to the economic depression, many companies have shut down or laid off employees. Therefore, some employees are forced to get out of their comfort zone, rethink their lives, explore new opportunities, or decide to operate We Media, or even start a business of creating a small brand of their own, so it’s obvious that increasingly more independent sellers appear on Shopee.

8. Cultural content industry is becoming more and more prosperous.

Local and cultural markets become recreational scenic spots for native travelers.

9. A few domestic brands with reasonable prices and good quality rise to compete with international brands.

RobinMay, a petty-bourgeois Taiwanese fashion bag brand with functional aesthetics as its design concept.

Due to differences in the recovery of the world epidemic and frequent international logistics checkpoints, Taiwan domestic brands like fashion shoes “D+AF”, fashion bags “Robinmay”, fashion accessories “Vacanza”, fashion clothing “Queen Shop”, casual wear “50%”, brewed coffee “Louisa Coffee” and “HWC Roasters”, athleisure wear “One Boy”… are growing strongly and internationally.

10. Camping, mountain climbing and other outdoors sports product stores are greatly welcomed.

Consumers’ demands for camping and mountaineering supplies have climbed.

The regulation to wear masks all the time during the epidemic has made everyone feel tired. The confined indoor space has caused safety concerns; consequently, it has set off a boom in mountain life. On weekends, people hide in the mountains to enjoy the fresh air without masks.

Whether it is online or offline, what has changed is only the channel and the method. Consumer demand for goods, beauty, and life has never changed!

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Irene | Future Department Store

Now living in the UK | Senior merchandise developer at mall👗I share topics of ♦retail ♦supply chain ♦commercial real estate ♦brand strategy ♦life planning