retail renaissance_FEATURED IMAGE PART 1

RETAIL RENAISSANCE Part 1: the evolution in consumer behaviour 19th May 2021

At the end of the Middle Ages in Western Europe, the Renaissance emerged as an opportunity for new knowledge, techniques, and icons. Leaders were those who pushed into uncharted territory, disrupted the status quo, and created a vibrant culture of creativity and experimentation. With the UK high street decline reaching a fever pitch, it is time for a change.

A radical new vision will be required to redefine the role that high streets play in our lives.

While the future remains uncertain, people still crave enjoyment more than ever. Our recent research across leisure, retail, wellbeing, and hospitality, heightens this sentiment. Changes in consumer behaviour combined with the impact of technology and the effects of the pandemic have also rapidly affected the speed of change. Below, we explore the issues behind this retail apocalypse and the emerging solutions.

The Evolution in Consumer Behaviour

There is a significant shift in consumer demand that will bring big social consequences and radically change the urban landscape. As we envision a post-covid landscape and regain the opportunity to have experiences outside our homes – the question is, what will consumers do with their free time if they don’t solely focus on retail and consumption?

Let’s begin by understanding the leading trends affecting consumer attitudes:

Technology : The pandemic has forced consumers to turn to digital to fulfil their needs. Tech-solutions and digital integration have permeated across all sectors and industries – as consumers increasingly expect convenience and real-time control of their purchases, transactions, and various lifestyle needs.

Wellness : Consideration for consumers’ physical and mental wellbeing has never been more important. Brands should note this change and make it a priority to support healthy lifestyles for consumers, shoppers, and employees. Having a “wellbeing strategy” will be a critical differentiator for the foreseeable future.

Mindfulness : Consumers are more mindful of what and how they’re buying. They are aiming to reduce food waste, shop more cost consciously and purchase more sustainable options. Brands will need to take this under serious consideration and make this a key part of their offer or service.

Community : Moreover, the desire to shop local and support the community reflects both the products consumers buy (e.g. locally sourced, artisanal) and the way they shop (e.g. supporting community stores). Brands will need to find ways to connect locally – whether by highlighting local provenance, customising local needs and interests, or engaging in locally relevant ways.



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