Breakthrough Insights 2022


Move from near-term, highly tactical, and executional scenarios to more forward-looking, strategic scenario-planning frameworks.

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Our 2022 edition of Breakthrough Insights highlights key reports from this year that relate to each of the five major retail themes we monitored.


These pieces reinforce how relevant the issues we addressed in our research remain as we transition into a new year. As we reflect, 2022 will be remembered for many things, from ongoing recovery physical retail faced to the overall rise in US incomes versus inflationary pressures and the domination of omnicommerce. Many of the changes we have witnessed are not entirely new but an acceleration of post-pandemic trends. Mixing in other important dynamics -- the significant economic slowdown; how shoppers’ waning confidence in the future is influencing their spending; and supply chain, logistics, and manufacturing turmoil -- reinforces the importance of the skills, technology, strategy, and agility required to succeed in the next chapter of commerce.

This year’s Breakthrough Insights brings together some of our best thinking of 2022 about the complex ways that all these changes have and continue to impact manufacturers and retailers. Beyond a point-in-time analysis, these pieces are a guided journey through many of the questions that we heard from our partners that we grouped into five key themes:

Five Key Themes

  • Macro upside down: What are the implications of major global events and how can retailers and brands navigate this environment? 

  • The shopper puzzle: Which shopper and consumer trends will revert to a pre-pandemic state, which are here to stay, and which will evolve? 

  • The fluid ecosystem: How will retailers adapt their appeals to remain relevant in a post-COVID and ecommerce-dominated age while expanding their profit streams? 

  • “Me” commerce: How do you align your assortment, pricing, and promotions to shoppers who expect immediacy and a personalized omnichannel experience? 

  • The cultural compass: What are the new rules for wellness, sustainability, and corporate responsibility that shoppers expect brands to follow? 

We hope you enjoyed this retrospective of our 2022 themes and trending insights. This dynamic collection of work takes the reader from near-term, highly tactical, and executional scenarios to more forward-looking, strategic scenario-planning frameworks aimed at maximizing organizational agility and preparing your company to excel.