Driven in large part by the ever-evolving face of online retailing, consumers worldwide have changed their shopping habits and priorities. In Europe, demographic trends and shopper preferences vary across countries, but a common thread exists: The youngest generation of shoppers do not behave the way their grandparents, parents or even older siblings did. Because of the sheer pace of these changing consumer preferences, only the most agile and responsive retailers and developers will survive.
Already we’re seeing successful retail formats around Europe evolve in response to changing habits. Today, the most prosperous centres tend to be either large, dominant properties that provide full-scale shopping destinations, or smaller, food-anchored centres that offer lifestyle and leisure with a dose of shopping. In Western Europe, destination centres are being created through refurbishment and extension, which allows developers to maximise the assets they already have. In Central and Eastern Europe, refurbishments and extensions are only 12% of the new space added, with more ground-up centres slated to be built through 2017. In both cases, smart developers are future-proofing their investments by ensuring the new or newly positioned centres reflect the needs and desires of today’s shoppers.