Experiential retail will be “tipping point” in 2025 – Westfield

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) has been highlighted as a global leader on corporate climate transparency and action for a second consecutive year by environmental impact non-profit Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).
Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield is considered one of the most sustainable companies in its sector.
// Westfield owner releases “How We Shop” report discussing the next decade
// More than half of retail space in stores will be dedicated to providing experiences
// The report was accumulated from surveys of 15,700 consumers across 10 countries in Europe

The parent company of Westfield has released its How We Shop report discussing the “biggest retail trends to date”.

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield predicted in the report that more than half of retail space in stores will be dedicated to providing experiences.

The report explores how consumers in the UK and across Europe will be shopping by 2029.


The shopping centre giant said there would be five key trends which will transform the retail industry: upside down retail; anti-prescription; self-sustaining stores; retail surgery and locally-morphed retail.

A total of 59 per cent of consumers are expecting that more than half of retail space will be devoted to experience rather than product by 2025, while 75 per cent of consumers believe this will happen by 2027.

A colossal 81 per cent said they would be willing to pay more for experience.

Meanwhile, the report found that more consumers are requesting more online brands should enter bricks and mortar.

As sustainability becomes an increasingly popular theme across retail, 76 per cent of consumers said they want retailers to do more to address environmental concerns.

The most pressing sustainability issues for shoppers overall are single-use plastics – with 67 per cent of UK consumers prioritising the banning of single-use plastics amongst desired sustainability initiatives.

“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,” Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield group chief executive officer Christophe Cuvillier said.

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

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield chief marketing officer Europe Myf Ryan said: “The important role of the physical store is changing and retailers need to enter another decade of reinvention to remain relevant.

“Retailers that lead on sustainability, devote more space to experience, provide free-range browsing online and in-store, deliver accurate product recommendations based on science and think local will reap the benefits.”

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “Retail is an exciting, dynamic and diverse industry which constantly pushes the boundaries of creativity and experience.

“As identified in the Westfield How We Shop report, retail needs to cater to changing consumer habits and as a result the next decade will be the most innovative to date.”

“With 2019 showing the worst sales growth on record, new thinking will be crucial to reversing this trend.

“The 2020 climate will also provide retailers the opportunity to deepen relationships with their local communities.

“The Westfield How We Shop research unveiled that 69 per cent of the UK want to see their retail environments reflecting the local community, which would undoubtedly have a positive effect on both the consumer/brand relationship and sales.

“The next decade is likely to see many cultural shifts and greater uncertainty, however, retail can position itself as a safe and relevant hub to local communities.”

The report was accumulated from surveys of 15,700 consumers across 10 countries in Europe including the UK, France, Spain, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Poland, the Czech Republic, Italy and The Netherlands.

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