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Insights & Publications

How retailers can keep up with consumers

October 2013

Is this the end of retail as we know it? Probably not. But big changes are inevitable and U.S. retailers must act now to succeed in the next decade.

Operations extranet

Understanding the European grocery shopper

July 2013

Short checkout lines? Well-stocked shelves? A recent survey of European consumers reveals which aspects of the grocery shopping experience they care about most

McKinsey Insights & Publications

'Reshaping retail’: A conversation with Ahold CEO Dick Boer

July 2013

The head of the international retailer talks about what it means to have a global family of local brands, the Internet’s impact on grocers, and how supermarkets should focus on the experience of fresh foods.

Insights & Publications video

China’s e-tail revolution

June 2013

China’s retail sector is among the most wired anywhere. In this video, McKinsey's Yougang Chen and Gordon Orr discuss how e-retailing offers companies an unprecedented opportunity to create low-cost, highly efficient digital businesses.


McKinsey research

Dollar stores: The next wave of growth in consumer healthcare and beyond

May 2013
Americans across many income groups are flocking to dollar stores, making this sector one of the brightest in retail. Here's how to win in this new growth channel. 
McKinsey research

The power of points: Strategies for making loyalty programs work

April 2013

Three-quarters of Americans households have enrolled in at least one shopper's card or loyalty program, but most of them aren't being used. Here's how to change that. 

Luxury market in Japan
McKinsey research

Luxury goods in Japan: A 2013 preview

April 2013

Japan’s luxury shoppers have altered the way they think and shop. Here are four trends marketers need to grasp in order to meet the changing consumer expectations in the world's third largest luxury market.


e-tailing in China
McKinsey Global Institute

China’s e-tail revolution: Online shopping as a catalyst for growth

March 2013

China’s retail sector is among the most wired anywhere—e-tailing commanded about 5 to 6 percent of total retail sales in 2012, compared with 5 percent in the United States. Yet it is distinctly different from that of other countries.


French consumer priorities are changing
McKinsey research

The 400-billion-euro question: Where is French retail going?

January 2013

French retail has managed to get through a very rough patch, but the behavior of French consumers has changed markedly, and probably permanently. Here are three important things to know.


Chinese consumer survey 2012
McKinsey research

Luxury without borders: The 2012 Chinese luxury consumer survey

December 2012

Glowing with optimism, Chinese consumers have leapt into first place among the world’s spenders on luxury goods. Yet this market is undergoing tumultuous changes. Here’s what you need to know to overcome these challenges.


Africa's largest business opportunity will be its rising consumer class.
Africa Consumer Insights Center

The rise of the African consumer

November 2012

The world is catching on to the potential of the surging African consumer market. Here is how to translate the opportunity into action.

luxury platers can gauge the lifestyle potential of their brands
Apparel, Fashion & Luxury Group

How luxury brands can create a sense of lifestyle

November 2012

Real luxury lifestyle must be rooted in authenticity. If luxury brands stray too far from their roots, they will be reduced to little more than faded labels. Here is how companies can infuse their luxury brands with a sense of lifestyle—and substance, too.


Healthcare opportunity in China
McKinsey research

Pills, potions and potential: The consumer healthcare opportunity in China

October 2012

Considering that the Chinese consumer health spending could reach $60 billion by 2020, it is time to wake up and rethink some of the misconceptions about this market.


Navigating Brazil's consumer market trends
McKinsey research

Navigating Brazil: Mapping the next decade of consumer spending

August 2012

Brazil’s recent run of strong, broad economic growth has created more purchasing power, but many consumer companies are in danger of missing out. Here are four key trends to know.


McKinsey, retail, digital, multichannel
Chief Marketing and Sales Officer Forum

Seven strategies to beat the retail apocalypse

June 2012

Retailers need to understand and exploit their multichannel advantages if they want to survive in a digital world.


japan, luxury consumer, McKinsey, Ginza, LVMH
McKinsey 2012 luxury report

Standing tall: Japan's resilient luxury market

May/June 2012

Japan's luxury consumers kept up the pace, even after the devastation of last year's disasters. But let the seller beware: The demographics and dynamics of the market are changing.


china, hypermarket, retail, Wal-Mart, consumers, McKinsey
McKinsey research

Inside China’s hypermarkets: Past and prospects

May 2012

Hypermarkets have been hugely popular in China; from next to nothing in 1997, there are now 2,400 of them. But the low-hanging fruit has been picked. Not only is the competition tightening, but retail dynamics are changing.


Mexico, consumer, retail, brands
McKinsey research

The post-recession consumer: Describing the Mexican shopper

April 2012

Mexico consumers are conflicted. On the one hand, only 16 percent of those surveyed by McKinsey believed that they were doing better economically; on the other, 48 percent are optimistic about the future.


discount retail, consumer research, Aldi, Kaufland, Mercadona, Lidl, Edaka
McKinsey analysis

Keeping it simple; getting it right

February 2012

Many European retailers want to replicate the successful models applied by discount stores, but the results are mixed. Here is how to get it right.


European luxury market
European Luxury Survey 2011

Domestic consumers: The "Sleeping Beauty" of European luxury

February 2012

Europe looks like a big and resilient luxury market. But look closer: Most of the growth is coming from Chinese, Japanese and Russia tourists. What are European consumers thinking? And how should the market adapt to these trends?


china, mobile phone, retail, smartphone, China Telecom, China Mobile, Gome, Suning
McKinsey research

Ringing the changes: The dynamics of China’s mobile phone market

January 2012

The dynamics of China’s mobile phone market are changing, in particular the way that people buy their handsets. Who are the likely winners? And losers?


brazil, middle class, consumer, consumption
McKinsey research

Getting to know you: How to reach Brazil’s burgeoning middle class

January 2012

Europe is in crisis; the US is in the doldrums; China is worried about a property bubble; India has hit a rough patch. But Brazil is thriving. In the first of two articles on Latin America's largest economy, we look at what makes the middle class tick.


Turkey, modern retail. consumers, mom-and-pops
McKinsey analysis

Goodbye, mom and pops? The modern journey of Turkish consumers

December 2011

The traditional mom-and-pop grocery store is being displaced by modern trade. What’s driving this change—and what’s next?


Brazil, drug stores, retail, Class C, Droga Raia
McKinsey research

Winning in the Brazilian pharmacy market

December 2011

Brazil pharmacy retailers have every reason to be optimistic, with strong growth and a surging economy. But there will also be a shakeout. The winners will be those who adapt to three key trends.


coupons, redemption, Groupon, US, retail
McKinsey research

US consumers and coupons: A story of redemption

December 2011

American consumers have been using coupons with new enthusiasm. But is this a good thing for companies?


Russia's retail market
McKinsey analysis

Dress for success: Cracking Russia’s apparel market

November 2011

Once dominated by open-air markets and department stores, Russia’s apparel market now features upscale global boutiques. Foreign players will find the market fraught with considerable, but manageable, peril.


India, rural market, multinationals, middle class
McKinsey analysis

How to win in India’s rural markets

November 2011

The rush to serve India’s growing middle class has concentrated on the cities—but there’s rupees to be made in rural areas too.


Outside insights

Do dollar stores need a crummy economy?

The U.S. now has 30% more places to buy an 80¢ stick of deodorant or a $1.05 jar of salsa than it did in 2009, and two-thirds more than a decade ago.

Outside insights

Consumers hate in-store tracking


Thanks to geofencing technology, wifi, Bluetooth and ubiquitous smartphones, marketers are able to track and market to customers via smartphone signals. Three-quarters of consumers find this unacceptable.

Outside insights

Why Safeway needs a future with fewer groceries

Most shoppers don’t want 20 brands of hummus or yogurt. They want experts to narrow that down to the best two or three.

Retail and Consumer Packaged Goods

Fresh take on food retailing

March 2014
Fresh food categories are strong drivers of store traffic and customer loyalty. Here's how retailers can manage them for greater profitability.
Outside insights

The future of retail is bricks and clicks convergence

Eyewear makers Warby Parker once thought they'd connect with consumers only through the web and mailings of home try-on kits. In the last five months, the company has built four physicial stores.

Outside insights

Do online grocers beat supermarkets?


Many online grocers now offer a shopping experience that approaches the selection and convenience we've come to expect from the Internet, though with some tradeoffs.

Outside insights

How to thrive in the age of "Me-Commerce"

Retail success these days depends on meeting consumers' ever-changing and increasingly demanding shopping habits. Five questions retailers must ask themselves.

Outside insights

Retailers seek partners in social networks

“Showrooming” is no longer a bad word. Instead of fearing the Internet, many retailers are now learning to embrace it.

Elsewhere from McKinsey

McKinsey's Nathalie Remy talks retail trends

Remy asks: “Are fashion stores out of fashion....Or a competitive weapon in the digital age?” One certainty: The winning fashion players will be those capable of reinventing their physical stores and transforming them into competitive weapons.

Outside insights

The answer to showrooming? Improve customer experience

Showrooming is the next evolution of retail, and rather than trying to resist or counter, retailers should consider the question: “How can I improve the customer experience?”

Outside insights

Why Home Depot's not building new stores in the U.S.

In this video, Home Depot CEO Frank Blake explains that the boost in online sales has allowed his company to grow while cutting back on brick-and-mortar expansion.

McKinsey video

The tech revolution comes to retail


"The balance of power between retailers and customers is changing dramatically in favor of the customer," says McKinsey director Stefan Niemeier in this video, based on research for a new book, Reshaping Retail: Why Technology is Transforming the Industry and How to Win in the New Consumer Driven World.

Outside insights

Fashion 'too scared to innovate with tech', says ex Topshop marketing chief

Justin Cooke says that despite fashion week campaigns, many brands are still taking too long to exploit social media, personalisation and the power of data.

Outside insights

The business of fast fashion

Fast fashion is defined as the cheap clothes that bring catwalk styles to the public in a matter of weeks. While not all designers are opposed to it, many agree it has led to a lack of authenticity in new clothing lines and a lack of quality in production.

Outside insights

Back-to-school is Christmas in September for retailers

The back-to-school shopping season is second only to Christmas in retail sales. A report from Placed Insights found that 58% of parents planned to finish their shopping less than one month before the start of school.

Outside insights

Nordstrom's shelves, now stocked by Pinterest

Many companies have turned Pinterest into a de facto catalogue as a way to drive online sales. Nordstrom is going in the other direction: stretching the image-based social network into its brick-and-mortar stores.

Elsewhere from McKinsey

One big mistake retailers are making online: Not thinking like their customers

It's not just about Big Data. Old fashioned human intelligence, gleaned from experienced merchants and their employees on the front line, is also critical.

Outside insights

Why downplaying logos is the new trend in luxury

In logos, small is the new big. A University of Chicago study found that the smaller the logo is on a luxury item, the higher the price it can command.

Elsewhere from McKinsey

Leading apparel companies are looking to cities for growth


Today emerging markets account for 37 percent of women’s midmarket apparel. By 2025, that share is expected to rise to more than 50 percent, with growth happening in both megacities and "middle-weight" cities.

Outside insights

America's top 10 hottest clothing chains

Forbes ranks the top places Americans go to buy clothes. You'll notice some major retailers aren't on the list.

Outside insights

Confessions of a Gucci addict

Buzz Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights, offers a fascinating look at the virtues of spending $14,000 on a leather jacket and $1,500 on a pair of jeans. High end fashion, Bissinger writes, has made him feel like who he wanted to become: “rocker, edgy, tight, bad boy, hip, stylish, flamboyant, unafraid, raging against the conformity that submerges us into boredom and blandness.”

Outside insights

When stores, and credit firms, watch you shop

Retail tracking cameras

Brick and mortar stores are using new “smart” security cameras and cell phone tracking services, to glean the sort of information about their customers that online retailers are already able to get.

Outside insights

Cinnabon brings consumer capitalism to Libya

Cinnabon in Tripoli open for business

Cinnabon, the Atlanta-based bakery chain, is at the vanguard of a potential business boom in the North African country. In July the unit of Focus Brands became the first US franchise to open since the revolution, with a two-level, upscale Tripoli outlet. 

Elsewhere from McKinsey

Luring China’s little emperors

McKinsey China podcast on global Chinese brands

A new class of younger, wealthier, and more sophisticated Chinese consumers are seeking more intangible, often emotional benefits from their purchases. These new mainstream consumers are spurring companies to rethink their strategies. In this podcast, Nick Leung speaks with his colleagues in China, Max Magni and Yougang Chen, about the results of a recent survey they conducted of Chinese consumers.