Disruption comes in many forms. From new market entrants and go-to-market models, to technology advancements such as artificial intelligence.

IRI, Chicago, collaborated with Chicago-based Retail Leader magazine to discover the Top 5 disruptors impacting the retail industry.

  1. Rapid evolution in merchandise mix. Category evaluation and cross-category penetration is increasing due to growth in organic, fresh, natural, health and extended categories, such as pet food. Also technology enablers such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning-based applications as well as sensory and vendor-managed, inventory-based supplier replenishment programs enable growth in cross-category sales.
  2. Increasing generational cohort demand. Box meals and ready-to-eat meals continue to evolve thanks to high demand from Millennials. In fact, the category experienced a 25-30% annual growth in business from 2017, projected to 2022.
  3. Off-price movement. More and more retailers are opening stores with discount concepts. For instance, 46% of the store expansion in United States was driven by Dollar General and Dollar Tree. AI-based customer insights, omni-channel marketing personalization and predictive pricing models continue to drive growth in this segment.
  4. Digital growth. Digital is fueling overall growth in the United States, with e-commerce representing 13% of retail sales and 49% of overall growth in 2017. Likewise, online U.S. grocery sales will reach $30 billion by 2021. Blockchain technology is said to help garner growth in the digital segment of the food and beverage industry.
  5. Door-to-door fulfillment. Nearly four in 10 retailers are adding same-day door-to-door delivery of digital orders in 2019. Companies continue to experience supply chain optimization, an integrated supply chain network and blockchain-based technologies to achieve a fusion of retail and e-commerce stability.