Consumers Want Convenience and a Social Experience When Choosing Where to Shop

The majority of European shoppers (88%) want a good range of retailers and an inclusive shopping experience when deciding where to shop. Cleanliness, price and convenience remain the most important factors for all consumers, but the importance of a social experience whilst shopping, continues to be of significant focus for the younger shopper (18-24 year olds), according to the major new research from global property advisor CBRE.

Social media channels continue to influence the way consumers shop with women (36%), 18-24 year olds (40%) and high income shoppers (35%) being the largest users of social media to keep up with special offers and events compared to less than a third of men, the older generation and low income consumers. However, looking at the differences in the young consumer by countries, it is interesting to see that only 24% of consumers in Germany use social media compared to 60% in of the same age group in Romania and 62% in Turkey. Men and Women in Great Britain and Denmark are the least engaged when it comes to social media shopping. Young shoppers will also use a shopping centre app twice a month reflecting the need for shopping centres to become more appealing to tech savvy shoppers by investing in apps to tailor for the individual and make the shopping experience more personal.

Peter Gold, Head of Cross-Border Retail, CBRE, commented:” The overall shopping experience can be crucial to the success or failure of many schemes across the world. As consumers become ever more demanding, shopping centre owners are increasingly having to invest in making their centres more ‘experiential’ to boost footfall as well as the all-important dwell time. High quality dining options, entertainment, special events and play areas for kids and grown-ups are all becoming more commonplace.”

In the new survey of 21,000 European consumers across 21 countries, entertainment facilities such as a cinema, bowling, free WIFI and a good place to meet friends proved to be a significant attraction factor, particularly to young consumers in Great Britain, Denmark and Norway, compared to the older generation. This social aspect also varies by gender with 70% of female shoppers in Great Britain saying that they expect a shopping destination to be a good place to meet friends whilst only 49% of men agreed. Women and young consumers share the same aspirations for their shopping trip as a social and leisure activity in line with those consumers in Southern Europe.

Consumers also ranked the presence of good restaurants as another appealing factor when deciding where to shop and we believe this could help in prolonging the consumers shopping experience. Young consumers (18-24 year olds) in Great Britain (31%) and Ireland (36%) in particular, considered good restaurants either extremely or very important in a shopping destination compared to 21% of all consumers. Landlords need to focus on what shopping centres can offer in addition to pure retail sales and consider investing in facilities that young people consider important to ensure they get a long term return.

Natasha Patel, Associate Director EMEA Research, commented:” As shopping becomes not just a necessity but much more of a social activity; landlords and retailers need to adapt to demand for more leisure offerings. The savvy shopper requires an integrated shopping experience and it’s important for landlords and retailers to understand not only how to get consumers in the door but how to keep them in their centres or stores for longer. We can already see great examples of this through increased gastronomy in centres and concepts such as KidZania.”