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How We Shop: The Next Decade

   News / 13 Feb 2020

Published: 13 February 2020

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield recently wrote its biggest retail trends report to date, that explores how consumers across Europe will be shopping by 2029. The report states that by 2025, retail will experience its tipping point where over half of a store's space will be dedicated to an experience of some kind. 

The report goes over what 15,000+ consumers across ten different European countries, including France, Spain, Germany and the UK want within a store. Using this information, they come up with five major trends that will shape the future of retail over the next ten years. These are:


Upside-Down Retail

Retail has certainly changed over the years. Today’s shoppers want 40% of a retail space to be replaced by experiences, but this is expected to increase and by 2025, retail will experience its tipping point. In 2025, 59% of consumers expect more than half of a retail space to be handed over. However, 75% of consumers believe this will happen by 2027. 42% of all European consumers want an increase in creative experiences in-store, including creating your own podcasts to different video games. 


Despite the rapid increase in automation in most things in life, people still want to feel in control of their decisions, especially shopping. Over 143 million shoppers across major European cities are increasingly getting frustrated while shopping by receiving ads and product recommendations that have no relevance to them. The majority of these shoppers come from Poland, Spain and Austria. This is now increasing the number of people who would rather shop in-store than online.
More online brands these days are looking to open a physical store as this builds a stronger relationship with its shoppers because of this. 

Self-Sustaining Stores

Everyone is becoming more and more conscious of the impact they are having on the planet and they are hoping that brands can help to develop a more sustainable future. 290 million shoppers across Europe want future stores to be completely self-sufficient. 71% of shoppers want the product made in-store beforehand using 4D print technology with a design team to create a product there and then and allotments on the roofs to grow ingredients for food to be made while they wait. 60% of shoppers from Austria, Spain, German, Poland and the UK want to ban single-use plastics and they will be assured of zero-waste packaging in-store and will even have a reward scheme for their eco-friendly way of shopping. This is easy for the small start-up companies, but the big business’ will have a strain put on them to follow suit.

Retail Surgery

A new decade means retailers will eventually be able to show exactly what a shopper needs and wants based on facts and statistics instead of just guessing. Over half of shoppers want stores to include some sort of personal consultation or meeting with them to identify products that they actually want. This means retailers will start to become “doctors” to “prescribe” specific items and products that will improve a shoppers life. The most interesting part of this trend is that 31% of shoppers are happy to give their DNA to allow better-suited products and ads. Retail Surgery could be worth up to €4 trillion per year with the DNA testing being worth €18 billion alone.


Individual communities are due to have a big influence on retail destinations over the next decade. Nearly half of shoppers today want to be more connected with their local community, with 7 out of 10 shoppers say want the retail environments to highlight individuals and communities for the area.
More than half of shoppers would prefer to see more “home-grown” brands and less well-known brands, especially in Austria and France where 62% of shoppers said the same. 

Shoppers are after a more nostalgic feel as they bring the community together with things like social and book clubs and more community fairs. People are looking for more of a local feel when they shop, 31% of shoppers would also like to see more local farmers selling their organic produce within the area. 



Obviously these are all predictions, but with more and more people looking for trends like this could really show a change in the way that we shop. Understanding customers needs is what retailers are taking more commitment to ensure a greater shopping experience. Myf Ryan, stated “The important role of the physical store is changing and retailers need to enter another decade of reinvention to remain relevant. Retailers that lead to sustainability, devote more space to experience, provide free-range browsing online and in-store, deliver precise product recommendations based on science and think local will reap the benefits.”

*Source: Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield Retail Update Jan 2020.


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