Seven cities, four planes, too many trains and some seriously tired feet have summed up our journey to scope out how brands were approaching retail trends for 2017.

We took over ten thousand photos and engaged in numerous activations, all of which led us to our three hundred page document, that we have now been able to share with you. As you will have noticed, we called this festive period a ‘Topsy Turvy’ Christmas. Our reasoning is simple, it’s been slightly upside down and a little bit confused – in a good way.

After what can only be described as a year of political unrest and general insecurity, brands used this festive period as a time to be a mouthpiece for the people. We saw less association with traditionalism, and more emphasis on partying, vibrancy and celebration; a celebration of gender, age, diversity, friendship, love, food, values and the places we call home. We noticed direct juxtapositions in themes and engagement tactics almost flipped on their head. In an era of technological advancement, it would have been assumed that large activations would have been led with digitalisation, yet we saw a massive leverage on physical and tangible experiences, using art and personalisation to enhance a brands ability to maintain human connectivity. Bold and strong colours were littered across Christmas windows, with an injection of bright and vibrant LGBT heroship filtering down through almost every campaign. We witnessed brands source connections through sustainability, and search for purpose in their approach; instead of pushing down on profit. In a time when we spend large amounts of money and gratify our material needs more than ever, the empowered millennial consumer actively looked for charitable and less indulgent experiences to counteract any feelings of self-indulgence or greed.

As a global economy, we are never willing to let go of the ability to walk into a store empty handed and walk out with something we desire. However, the rise of the pop-up shop became evident towards the end of 2017. Retail is changing and a shift in tactics saw less brands setting up permanent bricks and mortar for more changeable and flexible pop-up stores. This rise gave retailers the ability to appeal to different demographics, psychographics and cultures and opt to be more inventive in their activation approach.
We have taken all our research and pulled together some of the highlights that allow you to fully understand how we are influenced by the campaigns and advertisements around us. The magnitude and importance of retail is not to be underestimated and we are now even more intrigued to see how the landscape of 2018/19 will unfold.

However, quite simply 2017 was a ‘Christmas of two halves’- that stood united instead of divided!

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