Poland saw 33 new schemes delivered to the market in 2020 despite retail being in crisis. What does the future hold for the newly-built and existing shopping centres and retail parks? Beata Kokeli, Head of Retail Agency at Cushman & Wakefield, talks about trends in the retail sector.
What’s in store for the retail market? This is a million-dollar question. The market is mired in uncertainty and nobody knows how long we will have to operate in the pandemic reality. According to many predictions, vaccinations will enable a return to the pre-pandemic world and, subsequently, to shopping in brick-and-mortar stores in the middle of this year. What then? No research is available on this topic yet, but as we continue to monitor the market we expect a significant increase in vacancy rates. Premises are likely to be vacated particularly by tenants from such sectors as food & beverage, fitness and entertainment operating in shopping centres, high streets and on ground floors of office buildings.
The pandemic has undeniably changed shopping patterns and raised many questions: will shopping centre food courts be in demand? Will customers want to leave their children in kids’ play areas? How to develop a tenant mix? Will Gen Zers want to spend their leisure time in shopping centres, as most shoppers in brick-and-mortar stores are now over the age of 40?
Although research into shopping centre trends in the post-covid era is still a thing of the future, some directions of change that were revealed by the pandemic can already be identified:
Stronger customer loyalty to local stores, local producers and shopping close to where people live. Local shopping centres have reported higher footfall and conversion rates. Products of local producers are favoured.
Growing price sensitivity. Customers have become more price-sensitive during the pandemic and value add concepts are reporting growing retail sales.
Choosing socially responsible brands. Customers choose sustainable and fair trade products, with fast-fashion brands such as H&M and Zalando taking action accordingly – they reorganize manufacturing to reduce their carbon footprint and offer pre-owned platforms where items can be returned for resale. Gen Z customers will shop for products of brands that share their values such as responsibility for climate change or pollution (for instance, they will choose Salomon 100 percent recyclable running shoes).
Omnichannel. Brick-and-mortar retailers are integrating their sales channels to offer not only click-and-collect but also an opportunity to browse and order products available in stores using online tools.