Retail sales in the United States from November 1st through Christmas Eve were up 5.1 percent to more than $850 billion, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse. Making this the best holiday shopping season in six years, Mastercard said.

With National Retail Federations Big Show 2019 just around the corner and a strong 2018 holiday report, retailers are bracing for a strong momentum season. Despite speculation in the stock market and talk about a potentially slowing economy, consumer confidence remains strong. 2019 brings a set of new opportunities for retailers to capitalize on. Here is a look into what to expect in 2019:

Brick-and-Mortar Stores Continue to Evolve
The physical store will remain the epi-center of the business but will change as retailers experiment with technology, location size and customer service concepts.

Retail As a Service will Grow
Creating personalized customer experiences remains top of mind. Accenture and the Retail Industry Leaders Association released data earlier this year that indicated more consumers than ever want retailers to personalize their shopping experiences. Retailers will begin to deploy technologies to streamline purchasing channels and curate spaces in a very engaging way employing thoughtful design, creating insightful online content, and developing intelligent merchandising models.

Bankruptcies Expected to Slow

2018 saw several retailers declare bankruptcy. However, many analysts predict the number of bankruptcies may ease up in the year ahead.

Checkout-Free Retail
With the deployment of nine Amazon Go locations up and running we will begin to see an influx of retailers supporting the latest and greatest technology to create a seamless check-out experience. Checkout-free retail means less payroll, less inventory, and less theft for retailers with a faster and more convenient shopping experience for consumers in the long-run.

360-degree Cyber Security Approach
Retailers will invest heavily in cyber security capabilities across people, process and technology. Comprehensive threat protection will continue to be established taking into account customers, employees, contractors, vendors, application and systems. This will go beyond the perimeter firewall to secure cloud, mobile and IoT operations and data wherever it resides to better maintain, operate and secure operations and brand.

Are you attending National Retail Federations Big Show 2019? Visit VMware at Booth #1057 to learn how we can help you accelerate your business in 2019 and beyond.

Also, be sure to join the conversation on twitter @vmwareretail