The Future is Anywhere: 2021 Trends in Telecom Retail

Inaugural telecom retail trends report shares fascinating results and predictions from across North American wireless sector

There’s only one group of people who know telecom retail better than iQmetrix, and that’s all the industry professionals working in telecom retail operations every day.

So for iQmetrix’s inaugural Trends in Telecom Retail Survey, we reached out to telecom retail professionals across the US and Canada to glean insights into the state of the sector — both today’s trends, and predictions for what’s to come. 

The results were extremely insightful. We learned that the telecom retailer of today is agile and responsive; robust and optimistic; innovative and adaptable. We discovered that the coronavirus pandemic radically changed the retail landscape — temporarily for the worse, perhaps, but arguably for the better in the long term.

More than anything else, our survey responses revealed that the future of telecom retail is in meeting the customer where they are. Retail operators are investing in innovative ways to sell anywhere, so that their customers can buy anywhere. In-store, online, via mobile, via social, via search, at big-box kiosks, at pop-up stores, and anywhere else.

The results also showed a highly bullish attitude among telecom retailers — perhaps surprisingly so, given the recent pandemic. Although continued economic uncertainty remains top of mind for most respondents, more than two-thirds are expecting to see increased retail revenues over the coming three years. 

Stacy Hamer, Vice President of Client Experiences at iQmetrix, said, Overall, these responses make up a very optimistic report — and one that predicts huge change, not a continuation of the status quo. It shows that authorized retailers and carriers are going to have to align with each other, invest in new product sales, and adopt new retail channels. It paints a transformational picture.”

Key findings at a glance

Nearly 70% of telecom retailers predict sales of new wireless devices will be higher in three years vs today

87% have invested in engaging with customers via social platforms — or plan to within three years

83.7% predict sales of smart home and IoT-connected devices will be higher in three years vs today

89% predict more growth in buy/​reserve online, pick up in-store solutions over the next five years

Almost 80% of telecom retailers have invested in buy/​reserve online, pick up in-store — or plan to within three years

More than 88% predict a much greater focus on customer subscription and loyalty programs over the next five years