Now that shopping online and using mobile devices such as telephones and tablets is a widespread phenomenon does this herald the demise of retail chains as we know them today? Overall, retail players seem to have grasped the importance of the Internet and mobile technologies and more and more of them are embarking on multi-channel strategies which make parallel use of all means of communicating and selling. However PwC US and Kantar Retail, which have just published their Retailing 2020 report, expect to see even more radical change by 2020 in the United States. According to these consultants, the retail industry should be moving towards even greater segmentation, which should lead to more successful online brands and the disappearance of huge store complexes in favour of multiple niche boutiques serving specific needs. This will mean fewer mass market brands and a proliferation of smaller city outlets where the brand is not rigidly defined by a bricks-and-mortar or digital format. The report warns that national consumption patterns are about to become widely polarised. Meanwhile the rise of the middle class consumer in emerging countries will drive demand for a ‘global retailing’ approach that requires retailers to be able to respond to local needs everywhere.