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URW predicts retail trends for the next decade

westfield self-sustaining store

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) has unveiled its biggest retail trends report to date, ‘Westfield How We Shop: The Next Decade’, which suggests that retailtainment and experiential retail will play  increasingly important roles in shopping.

The report predicts that 2025 will be the “experience tipping point in retail”, when more than half of retail space in shops will be dedicated to providing experiences.

“The ‘Westfield How We Shop: The Next Decade’ report is one of the largest European studies of consumers’ retail habits and is an industry first,” said Christophe Cuvillier, group CEO of URW.

“Understanding customers’ needs today and tomorrow is part of our commitment to driving the industry forward and ensuring we provided the ultimate destinations four visitors to enjoy and our retailers and brands to thrive in.”

2025 will be the “experience tipping point in retail”

‘Westfield How We Shop: The Next Decade’ looks at the five major trends set to shape the retail industry over the next decade. Check them out below:

Upside-down retail – the whole retail model will turn on its head by 2025. 59 percent of customers will expect more than half of retail space to be devoted to experience rather than product. 75 percent of people think that this will happen by 2027, and 81 percent are willing to pay more for experience. The most requested in-store activities are creative, health and games orientated.

Anti-prescription – 56 percent of European consumers are frustrated by inaccurate online retail recommendations, which shows that retailers should monitor consumers through data. Nearly 60 percent want to browse full ranges, as opposed to curated edits. Consumers also want more of their online brands to create brick-and-mortar stores.

Self-sustaining stores – consumers will increasingly want more sustainable solutions, with 71 percent of people demanding products that are made in-store. 76 percent of Europeans want retailers to address environmental concerns.

Retail surgery – retailers will take personalisation to the next level using science to establish shoppers’ needs. More than a third of customers are willing to provide information in return for accurate recommendations.

Locally-morphed – shops will become community hubs, and 70 percent of shoppers want them to reflect the people who live in the area. 51 percent of people would prefer local brands to well-known brands.

The whole retail model will turn on its head, says URW

“The important role of the physical store is changing and retailers need to enter another decade of reinvention to remain relevant,” said Myf Ryan, chief marketing officer Europe and group director of brand and strategic marketing, URW.

“Retailers that lead on 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.”

Recent retailtainment developments include the first Hasbro theme park in Canada at West Edmonton Mall, and Dreamscape’s first international location at Mall of the Emirates.

Meanwhile, construction is reportedly starting on American Dream Miami in late 2021, with the mall expected to open by 2025. American Dream NJ is currently opening in phases.

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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