New Study Reveals How Factors Beyond Retail are Shaping the Future of Commerce

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Walker Sands’ fifth annual “Future of Retail” report reveals politics, voice-controlled devices, Amazon and new innovations in technology are driving a new era of commerce

The future of online commerce is bigger than retail. Major players like Amazon, Walmart and Target are expanding into new categories like grocery and pharmaceuticals, driving innovation in the industry on a much larger scale. Additionally, consumers are further embracing a completely connected lifestyle, forcing brands and retailers to reach them on new channels. In fact, of the consumers who own a voice-controlled device, 64 percent use it at least once a week and 50 percent have made a voice-controlled purchase in the past year, according to Walker Sands’ Future of Retail 2018 report, released today.

To further understand the factors that are shaping commerce today, Walker Sands, an integrated PR and digital marketing agency for B2B technology and professional services companies, surveyed 1,600 U.S. consumers about their shopping habits, preferences and views on emerging retail technology. Findings from the study create a playbook for brands, retailers and manufacturers to become more ingrained in consumers’ connected lifestyles. Key takeaways from this year’s report include:

  • Consumers are excited to shop online for emerging product categories. Thirty-nine percent of consumers say they’re at least somewhat likely to make a grocery purchase in the next year. Additionally, more than a third of consumers (35 percent) would use Amazon to fill prescription orders online.
  • The popularity of connected devices has grown. Seventy-two percent of those under the age of 36 own some kind of connected device (beyond smartphones and tablets), and 93 percent of those ages 18-25 own some kind of smart device (including smartphones).
  • Politics plays a leading role in commerce. Two-thirds (65 percent) of consumers report the current presidential administration has impacted their shopping behavior, up from 40 percent last year.
  • Amazon’s dominance forces competing retailers to evolve. On average, two in five consumers (41 percent) receive one to two packages from Amazon per week. That number jumps to half (50 percent) for consumers ages 18-25, and 57 percent for consumers ages 26-35.
  • Fast delivery is no longer optional. It’s a must. Forty-four percent of consumers have used some kind of same-day delivery service in the past year, indicating they are growing more comfortable with and reliant on these services.

“As the lines between retail and other industries blur, brands and retailers need to transform the commerce experience into a more integrated part of the consumer lifestyle. Commerce is no longer about an intentional decision to go in store or online to buy a product. It is now about connecting with consumers in their everyday lives and offering them the ability to browse, research and purchase when and where it’s convenient to them, ” said Erin Jordan, retail technology practice area lead at Walker Sands and author of the report. “Going forward, the brands and retailers that find new ways to engage consumers beyond traditional commerce will shape the future of retail.”

To learn more about how commerce is becoming a more integrated part of our connected lifestyles and to view the full results of the report, visit

About Walker Sands
Walker Sands is a public relations and digital marketing agency for business-to-business technology companies. With an integrated approach to creative services, Walker Sands helps clients build brand awareness, enhance credibility and drive new business. Walker Sands is a four-time Inc. 5000 honoree and regular recipient of some of the industry’s most prestigious awards from organizations including Entrepreneur, Holmes Report and Hermes Creative. Walker Sands was founded in 2001 and has offices in Chicago and San Francisco. To learn more, visit or

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Megan Felz
Walker Sands
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