Retail sector the most vulnerable to disruption; structural changes expected–according to AlixPartners report

  • New research from AlixPartners indicates the retail industry is the most vulnerable to disruption among ten industries studied
  • 38% of retail industry leaders admit to fears over losing their jobs
  • Roughly half of retail executives say companies can’t keep pace with technological change, worry employee skills are rapidly becoming obsolete
  • The AlixPartners “Disrupt or Be Disrupted” study focuses on six trends reshaping retail
17 April 2024

NEW YORK (April 17, 2024)In 2024, global retail is the most vulnerable to disruption among industry sectors, according to global consulting firm, AlixPartners. Now in its fifth year, AlixPartners’ Disruptive Index surveys 3,000 of the C-suite executives from all over the world, collecting responses across ten different industry sectors.

Over 50% of the respondents from the retail sector anticipated significant structural changes to their business model this year – the highest of all ten industries surveyed. This exposure to disruption is highlighted in the insecurity of retail business leaders, with a staggering 38% admitting to fears over losing their jobs as a direct consequence of industry disruption.

These fears also extended to their workforce, according to the AlixPartners’ study, with over half of top retail executives revealing that their employees’ skillsets are at risk of obsolescence and are not aligned to the changes currently impacting their businesses.

David Bassuk, global leader of the retail practice at AlixPartners, said: "Our latest findings underscore the critical need for retailers to proactively address challenges posed by disruptive forces in the industry. As the retail landscape rapidly evolves, businesses must remain agile and innovative to stay competitive and resilient."

Set to be published at the upcoming World Retail Congress, taking place April 16-17 in Paris, AlixPartners’ “Disrupt or Be Disrupted: Six trends reshaping retail” report explores critical trends, including:

1.      Discount disruptors: the next generation of discounters

2.      Real-time retail: navigating the now economy

3.      Brand consolidation: the rise of multi-brand platform models

4.      Circular retail: is profitability the bottom line?

5.      From retailer to media owner: harnessing value from digital channels

6.      Social shopping and D2C innovation: keeping up with the influencers

Matt Clark, the EMEA lead in AlixPartners’s retail practice, said: “The digital revolution, consumer behaviour change, geopolitical tensions economic pressures, and the lingering impact of the pandemic are transforming the retail landscape globally. Our research not only analyses the biggest challenges facing the industry, but also highlights the greatest opportunities. For industry innovators, and those willing to adapt and learn, the future of retail looks promising.”

According to the report, while 70% of retail executives hold growth expectations for the industry overall in the next 12 months, nearly half (49%) report that technological change is happening at a rate their company cannot keep up with. Meanwhile, more than half say existing employees’ skills are rapidly becoming obsolete, and that new employees entering the workforce do not have the skills to succeed.

Ian McGarrigle, Chairman of World Retail Congress, added: “Timed to coincide with World Retail Congress 2024, our hope is that this report will spark discussions about the changing face of retail. With industry leaders gathering, our goal is to facilitate meaningful conversations that drive innovation and shape the future of our industry’s landscape.”

About AlixPartners

AlixPartners is a results-driven global consulting firm that specializes in helping businesses successfully address their most complex and critical challenges. Our clients include companies, corporate boards, law firms, investment banks, private equity firms, and others. Founded in 1981, AlixPartners is headquartered in New York and has offices in more than 20 cities around the world. For more information, visit

For more information, please contact: 

John Stoll

[email protected]

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