The New 2024 Retail Trends — ‘Quick Commerce’ and ‘Recommerce’

The blurry lines between online and offline are beginning to disappear in retail. The recent surge in e-commerce, spearheaded by powerhouse platforms like Shopify, signals a change in how we perceive and interact with retail.

This seismic shift is epitomized by Shopify’s record-breaking $9.3 billion sales achievement during the Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend last year.

However, these latest numbers aren’t just statistics but harbingers of a new retail landscape. In the middle of them, we find two emerging trends: Quick Commerce and Recommerce — both trends that are rearing their heads for 2024.

Quick Commerce: When Delivery Moves From Days to Minutes

Quick commerce (q-commerce) is about speed and getting products to customers in hours or even minutes rather than days. This business model is usually reserved for small orders, so think about a small grocery shop or an ingredient someone unexpectedly ran out of for making dinner. But this expectation is expanding to everything from electronics to fashion.

Traditional online shopping involves selecting products that are then delivered from distant warehouses and often involves a lengthy shipping process, along with environmental costs due to long-distance transportation. By contrast, quick commerce utilizes local stores and nearby inventory to provide a more efficient and planet-friendly alternative.

Quick commerce enables consumers to have faster access to products, often within 30 minutes, reducing the carbon footprint associated with shipping goods over hundreds or thousands of miles. The shift towards quick commerce caters to consumers’ convenience and aligns with environmental sustainability by leveraging the proximity of local retailers. This transformation in retail strategies, extending to suburban areas, illustrates a significant step towards more responsible and eco-conscious shopping practices.

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According to Statista, the Quick Commerce market worldwide is expected to grow by 9.77% between 2024 and 2028, resulting in a market volume of US$251.50 billion by 2028.

Another player in the market is Glovo, which has remarkably ascended to become Spain’s tech unicorn, a testament to its innovative approach to leveraging quick commerce.

Expanding its reach across 25 countries, Glovo now serves millions of customers, diversifying beyond its initial restaurant food delivery model. Today, it encompasses various categories, including groceries, flowers, pet food, fashion, electronics, and more.

With its impressive growth trajectory, Glovo is a shining example of how Spanish tech innovation is making significant strides in the global q-commerce sector.

These changes fuel instant gratification for cash-rich and time-poor users motivated by urgency and convenience. Consumer behavior and expectations are evolving with an increasing number of start-ups pledging 15-minute deliveries with minimal delivery charges on baskets with as few as one or two items.

In the UK, The Co-op is making significant strides towards capturing a substantial 30% market share, showcasing a robust growth trajectory in this sector.

Matt Hood, Managing Director of Co-op Food, revealed in an interview with Grocery Gazette that the company is not only on track to achieve this ambitious target but is also contemplating setting the bar even higher. This progress is underpinned by strategic partnerships with leading rapid grocery delivery firms like Uber Eats, Deliveroo, and Eat, extending Co-op’s quick commerce reach to nearly 83% of the UK.

The Co-op’s journey in the quick convenience market is just one example of adaptability and customer-centric approach in a rapidly evolving retail tech landscape.

“Arriving quickly” is one new branch of e-commerce, but pre-loved or secondhand goods are also going through a renaissance for 2024.

Recommerce: Sustainable Shopping in 2024

The allure of sustainable shopping practices resonates deeply with a consumer base increasingly mindful of their environmental impact.

This shift is not just a niche movement but a widespread preference, particularly among younger generations leading the charge toward pre-loved items.

These consumers find unique value in secondhand goods, combining the appeal of distinctiveness with environmental consciousness.

The DeliveryX Top1000 Europe 2023 report highlighted the exponential growth of e-commerce, growing 16 times faster than traditional retail and projected to expand the European market by 60% to €120bn by 2025, signifying a transformative shift in e-commerce dynamics.”

The rising cost of living has played a part in shifting shoppers’ focus towards more economically viable options.

Recommerce presents an attractive proposition, offering access to high-quality and even luxury items at significantly reduced prices. This economic appeal, blended with a growing preference for sustainable and unique products, creates a robust demand for recommerce, setting it up as a key retail trend.

Technology integration, mainly through immersive 3D visuals, is critical in revolutionizing the secondhand fashion marketplace, significantly boosting consumer confidence. For example, Cappasity’s recent launch of Mertsy SDK, a pioneering mobile digitizing solution for goods, vehicles, and real estate, exemplifies this trend.

By enabling classifieds to incorporate 3D content capturing and display directly into their mobile apps and websites, it reduces the traditional friction points between buyers and sellers.

Unlike conventional photos and videos, this technology offers interactive and comprehensive visuals. Customers can now thoroughly examine products from all angles, ensuring a transparent and detailed understanding of their potential purchases.

For sellers, this means an opportunity to present their items more effectively and engagingly, fostering trust and encouraging informed buying decisions. This advancement marks a significant leap in enhancing the customer experience in the digital marketplace, particularly in areas where the physical examination of products was a barrier.

Simultaneously, major retailers such as Selfridges and H&M are dedicating significant resources to develop their recommerce capabilities by strategically embedding them into their business models.

The move from the ‘make and sell’ approach to a more circular one that emphasizes resale, repair, and rental is proving to be a big hit with socially conscious consumers.

According to a recent report by Barclays, the recommerce revolution is gathering place, with consumers contributing nearly £7.00 billion to the UK economy.

The growth of the recommerce market is outpacing traditional retail. But it’s not just about offering secondhand items; it’s about reshaping the retail experience to align with the evolving consumer values of sustainability, uniqueness, and economic sensibility.

Ultimately, this strategic shift by retailers underscores the recognition of recommerce not only as a supplementary initiative but as a pivotal role in the future of retail.

The Bottom Line

The retail landscape is transforming, primarily influenced by the rise of quick commerce and recommence.

Quick commerce might be seen as the natural evolution of the delivery systems we have been getting used to over the last two decades, while recommence might signal our desire to get the most out of a product’s lifespan — either as buyer or seller.

As a shopper, your choices are now that much bigger.

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Neil C. Hughes

Neil is a freelance tech journalist with over two decades of IT experience. Celebrated as one of LinkedIn's Top Voices in technology and recognized by CIO Magazine and ZDNet for his influential insights, Neil has contributed to publications like INC, TNW, TechHQ, and Cybernews while also hosting the popular Tech Talks Daily Podcast.