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New GMDC whitepaper examines key drivers of change set to reshape North America retail by 2020

November 12, 2014

The Global Market Development Center (GMDC) has released a new whitepaper based on a GMDC*Connect Videocast, “North America Retail 2020,” presented by Hannah Donoghue, Senior Analyst at RetailNet Group, that explores external drivers of change that will significantly impact the North America retail landscape over the next five years.

These external drivers of change are typically present in five distinct areas: macro-economic, societal, technology, industry, and political. The “North America Retail 2020,” videocast and whitepaper examines these areas, bringing to light various industry competitive dynamics as well as highlighting winning channels and store formats of the future.

“The retail changes occurring in North America and even globally are very real and present. The facts and data presented in this whitepaper and videocast have reinforced the work we’ve begun doing to adapt our stores' experience, reach, location, and digital use, amongst others.” said Michael Petocchi, Business Group Manager HBC/Cosmetics, Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. “If you are not already aware of these industry disruptions and building a proactive plan, I suggest you use these resources as your starting point and build up from there.” 

In discussing macro-economic changes, Donoghue’s research found that as the US population ages, the percentage of shoppers over 65 and reducing their consumption continues to grow. For every one shopper aging out of the population, only 0.8 ages back in, meaning the US is not replacing shoppers on an age-weighted basis.

“Aging consumers are affecting merchandising across categories. Retailers will need to cater to multiple generations within their stores, which changes shoppers’ overall store experience,” said Donoghue.

Additionally, US income distribution shows that from 1990 to 2012, a declining percent of middle income households and an increasing percent of higher income households. Because of this, it will no longer work to “market down the middle.” Segmentation and distinct approaches are becoming even more essential.

“North America Retail 2020” reveals new shopper personas, industry size and structure and winning segments and retailers that both suppliers and retailers will significantly benefit from by becoming aware of. These drivers of change will ultimately define retailer and supplier initiatives and collaboration opportunities going forward.

While the full version of this whitepaper is available only for GMDC members, the first page as a preview to the study can be found at GMDC members can view the full version of this whitepaper in their myGMDC Content Library. Donoghue’s videocast is available for both members and nonmembers in the GMDC*Connect Archived Videocast section:

If you are not a GMDC member but are interested in knowing more about the association and joining, please visit or contact Keith Wypyszynski at [email protected] or 719.576.4260.


About RetailNet Group, LLC: RetailNetGroup, LLC (RNG) is the leading retail intelligence resource helping retailers and suppliers plan tomorrow’s strategies today. As a company, RNG helps its clients stay 48-60 months ahead of what will happen in retail. The world is changing rapidly – and those changes are having a major impact on growth, earnings, shopper dynamics and the overall future direction of retail. RNG’s team are experts in activating leading-edge thinking about current and future states of retail markets and retailers, the growth strategies retailers will pursue, and the capabilities and competencies that enable retailers and suppliers to lead. With RNG you can spot, explain, and commercialize the important trends globally. RNG provides research through its website, as well as direct insight with analyst support and onsite educational programs.

About GMDC*Connect: GMDC*Connect is a LIVE video Telepresence tool allowing members to connect virtually within their own company, outside vendors, or generate face-to-face conference follow-up. Through GMDC*Connect, members can also collaborate and gain new industry insights while sharing best practices. The Videocast function allows key-note speakers to broadcast education to many participants and provides a live Q&A forum to enhance the interactive learning experience.

About GMDC: The Global Market Development Center (GMDC) is the premier global trade association dedicated to serving General Merchandise and Health Beauty Wellness retailers, wholesalers and suppliers. GMDC promotes critical connectivity to grow and expand member companies by uniting members through business building events and opportunities and enriching their thinking through education and training; consumer and business insights; and information resources.