STAMFORD: Global retailers have been advised to prepare for a year of "contradictions" in 2014, when they will be expected to adapt to changing consumer behaviour in various ways.

In "Global Retail Trend Predictions for 2014 and Beyond", Daymon Worldwide, the consumer insights company, identified eight main trends based on its analysis of 72 micro-trends, PR Newswire reported.

Recognising that retailers face a more "challenging business landscape than ever before", Carla Cooper, CEO of Daymon Worldwide, asserted that retailers will be forced to reconcile various contradictions, such as meeting the needs of an ageing population at the same time as serving tech-enabled millennials.

Other challenges, she said, include managing physical stores while addressing the explosive growth of non-store based retail, as well as meeting the need for convenience while also providing the customised retail experience shoppers now expect.

"Each of these challenging realities will have [a] tremendous impact on the retail landscape in 2014," Cooper warned.

In another of the eight key mega-trends, the study predicted that hypermarkets and supercentres will face increased competition from smaller stores – described as "category killers" – driven by increasing urbanisation, smaller households and consumer moves towards convenience.

Secondly, global retailers – particularly those with an interest in fashion, home improvement and office supplies – will be affected by a trend towards sharing, renting and reusing items rather than owning bulky, rarely-used ones.

Retailers are also advised to note that the middle class, although growing in emerging markets, is shrinking in the US, meaning retailers will have to adopt a clear pricing formula.

In another trend, companies and governments are expected to take more aggressive steps to promote healthy diets, which could mean stricter guidelines as the cost of entry in retail.

Fifthly, the report said grocery trips are no longer about stocking up, and grocery stores will increasingly become "the kitchen", meaning retailers will need to develop an even closer relationship with their customers.

Additionally, the idea of locally-sourced products will become more about personal interaction and authentic experiences, rather than just geography.

Physical stores will also need to provide shoppers with unique experiences according to the seventh trend, which may include activities such as cooking demonstrations or sampling.

Finally, with ageing populations in countries like the US and Japan, retailers will need to cater for older buyers with more in-store assistance and other measures that cater specifically for this life-stage.

Data sourced from PR Newswire; additional content by Warc staff