By Nathalie Depetro
We live in an age of blended consumption, where people shop, eat, drink, live, work, meet, and choose to spend their time in different places, at different times, and with different people. The transformation of retail seems to be happening at a pace never seen before – not least as a reaction to changing consumer needs and wants, which, in turn, have evolved alongside changing lifestyles, new demographics, and the impact of the digital revolution. Hyper-connected and immersed in the digital world, the modern consumer no longer comes to shopping destinations with the sole purpose of purchasing goods, but rather to discover greater enjoyment through new and ultra-personalized experiences. They want to be surprised, amazed, and amused, and they expect to discover real emotions, connections, and experiences. As a reflection of this change in habits, physical spaces have started to evolve, too – they are becoming urban lifestyle places for blended consumption that offer consumers somewhere to come together to live, shop, eat, work, meet, and connect in the real world.
This shift in purpose of retail spaces is evident when looking at some of the latest trends in retail: cue leisure and retailtainment, food and beverage, art and culture, health and wellness, an increased focus on service, and flexible pop-up spaces. CBRE and Cushman & Wakefield agree that, in the future, up to 50 percent of the commercial mix will need to be made up by food & beverage and leisure, and we can see several prominent retail projects that are currently underway in Europe taking this approach: Schemes such as intu Costa del Sol in Spain, American Dream in the US, and EuropaCity in France will all dedicate around half of their GLA to leisure. At the end of the day, it comes down to one thing: offering the customer an experience that is worth the trip and worth coming back for again and again.
As landlords and retailers are drawing on an extensive range of leisure activities – ranging from catering, wellness, cinema, theater, culture, and music to sports, virtual reality, e-games, entertainment, attractions, and events – to reinvent their offerings and create unique, differentiated shopping environments, it is worth noting, however, that leisure does not just help draw customers and boost footfall, it can also have a positive knock-on effect on the traditional retail elements of a retail center. Recent research carried out by Leisure Development Partners, in cooperation with Mapic, has shown that introducing a leisure concept into a retail space increases its footfall by up to 4 percent and the retail spend by up to 16 percent.
When Mapic returns to Cannes for its 25th consecutive year from November 13 to 15, it will do so under the headline “Retail Remixed: Rethinking Spaces and Places” – a theme that reflects this new paradigm of retail as lifestyle and what it means for the customer experience. Special attention will be given to leisure uses this year via the launch of the all-new sister event, Leisure Day, taking place the day before Mapic on Tuesday, November 12. The purpose of this 1-day event is to create a dedicated platform where specialist leisure operators, brand owners, leisure suppliers, retailers, urban planners, cities, architects, and property players can come together to co-create new, sustainable business models in order to accelerate the integration of leisure into shopping destinations and urban places, and to develop the lifestyle destinations of tomorrow. A highlight of the Leisure Day program will be a keynote address delivered by Andreas Veilstrup Andersen, Executive Vice President of Tivoli Gardens, the world-renowned amusement park located in central Copenhagen, who will speak on the topic of “Leisure: The Cutting Edge of Urban Enchantment” and will explore how leisure and entertainment play crucial roles in the attractiveness of cities.
Leisure will continue to have a prominent position at Mapic, too, in the form of a special Leisure Zone in which Leisure Talks will run throughout the conference program. The Innovation Forum will also make a return this year, while the main conference hall will offer panel discussions on diverse topics ranging from the “new” retail mix, the convergence between bricks and mortar and e-commerce to food and beverage, hospitality, wellness, and the effects of co-working and co-living on retail.
It is safe to say that the retail industry has experienced seismic change over the 25 years that Mapic has been in existence – and yet we are certain that there has never been a more exciting time to be part of it. So, without further ado, we look forward to welcoming you to Cannes for this milestone event at a pivotal time for our industry.