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The global retail market managed to avoid the economic downturn in western economies that make up the traditional market for the world's consumer products, by exhibiting year-on-year growth rates that hold promise for all players regardless of sector or scale.
Simply retailing means, directly selling many goods or commodities and services to the consumer. Retail business involves selling commodities from a retail store, online orders, through vendors and so many other polices.
Several factors contributed to this resiliency, paramount of which are the favourable conditions in emerging markets, the adoption of new retailing strategies and technologies, and the robust growth of the world population.
In 2012, retailers will continue to look to enter new markets like Asia Pacific, Africa and South America as higher growth in these regions continues, and they will look to improve their existing operational performance in these markets to achieve sustained growth.
Luxury goods have weathered the recession well, with demand from emerging market consumers and travel retail fuelling the industry. At the other end of the spectrum, economy retailers are making inroads as cash-strapped consumers look for bargains in both grocery and non-grocery. Both forces are squeezing the middle market.
Online retailing is attracting ever more consumers. The array of products available online is expanding. Bricks-and-mortar outlets are becoming victims of "showrooming", which is forcing companies to become "omni-retailers" or lose sales.
With the incredible speed at which the iPhone 4S sold - one million units in 24 hours, four million the weekend it was launched - and smartphones emerging as the most dominant consumer technology platform, one cannot mention the global retail market without also discussing mobile. Moreover, since a significant population of mobile users has not even reached shopping age, one can anticipate that mobile, and all the capabilities and opportunities it offers, will be top of mind among retailers in 2012.
To conclude, retail industry players should identify and capitalise on the sweet spot between domestic interests and offshore operations in emerging markets in order to succeed and grow globally. Just like when managing mutual funds, global retail players should implement risk management strategies by closely maintaining a mixed portfolio comprising of markets with different risk and reward factors.
For more information on the global retail market, see the latest research: Global Retail Market
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