22nd February 2024

Better business. Better community

Business Industry and Financial

2023 retail trends | PwC Canada

Consumers told us they love in-store shopping. But many are also present on other channels. For example, 42% of Canadian consumers shop on their phones at least monthly—a number we believe is temporarily low. Globally, 62% of consumers purchase products through a mobile device at least monthly. It’s only a matter of time before Canadian shoppers catch up.

For retailers and consumer goods companies, capturing a share of this growing market requires more than mobile-friendly e-commerce features. It takes a reimagination of how consumers use technology across multiple channels—sometimes simultaneously—to interact with your brand.

One channel we’re watching closely is the metaverse: immersive virtual worlds accessible through different platforms that let users socialize, work, play games and buy digital and tangible objects. Globally, it’s still in the early stages of adoption, with only 26% of consumers using the metaverse. That figure is even lower in Canada, at 12%.

Similarly, few companies see the metaverse as a priority. In our recent CEO Survey, only 5% of Canadian consumer markets respondents said they planned to invest in metaverse initiatives this year. That’s slightly below the global average of 9%. The metaverse isn’t ready for the limelight—yet. But we already see some retailers and consumer goods companies using creative techniques to create value in the metaverse.

Luxury fashion brands are among the notable early adopters. Some are applying gamification techniques to exhibit their collections in new ways, engage younger audiences and sell both digital designs and physical products in the metaverse. This includes creating games in which players select and customize the company’s apparel for their character to wear as they complete activities and compete to win digital and physical items. Brands are also creating their own immersive spaces in digital worlds for visitors to walk through and learn more about the company as well as view, try on and purchase digital products.

Our colleagues in the US found that leading companies align their metaverse efforts to specific and measurable outcomes, such as brand building and customer engagement. They’re also maintaining their initiatives with testing and performance monitoring. But we believe the success of metaverse ventures rests on a factor more important than functionality: trust.