The outlook was uncertain this time last year when many businesses were forced to close storefronts to protect people from the coronavirus.
While many brands went under or closed physical locations, turning to online only, it's created space and opportunity now for new trends.
“And I wouldn't be surprised if they start to see some empty storefronts building back up and having new retailers go into that a lot of new developments, should be happening with 2021 and certainly towards the end of 2021, close to the holiday season,” said Sara Skirboll, a shopping expert at RetailMeNot.
As restrictions ease, economists are expecting more in-person traffic in stores this summer. Skirboll says the new in-store experience is likely here to stay.
“I definitely think that six feet social distancing is going to remain intact for 2021. I think more retailers than not are still going to require masks when you enter the store and some retailers are still going to take into account capacity limits,” said Skirboll.
Another concept that started pre-pandemic but really boomed last year is curbside pickup. That's predicted to grow.
With online shopping growth, she says consumers became savvier, hunting for the best deals and coupons.
“They are taking advantage of deals and coupons, cashback offers. They're really looking for ways to save on anything and everything from groceries to apparel, electronics and even home decor with so many people sitting at home and renovating their houses. So, deals are more important than ever, and people know that and they're willing to go the extra mile to find a coupon code,” said Skirboll.
She mentioned more retailers are also having sales this quarter than usual.