The world’s retail industry descended on Cannes in November for the annual trade show, MAPIC, and, as usual, it was the event to make, break and shape retail trends.
The Investor looks at four themes that consistently came up over the course of the three-day event through presentations, panel discussions and side-line conversations.
1. Food delivery: a diversion?
Speaking during a session hosted by PropertyEU, JLL’s head of EMEA Foodservice Consulting, Jonathan Doughty, touched on the impact food delivery services such as Deliveroo and Uber Eats have had on the food retail industry. A particularly prescient topic given the rising allocation to F&B seen in malls, shopping centres and high streets worldwide.
He said: “The impact on retail has been profound. Delivery has opened up opportunities for people to eat more easily and it’s changed the variety on offer. However, a really smart move will be when food operators own their own delivery network, which they can control and profit from.”
Similarly, James Brown, Head of EMEA Research and Strategy, JLL, said food delivery is a ‘science’ with different operations and lease lengths than fashion retail and ‘as F&B grows up it is going to reach a point of saturation and there needs to be a better science behind it.’
2. More born-on-the-internet brands
Social trends are inspiring new brands with a few already taking the retail world by storm. One of the most prolific participants in this year’s MAPIC was Australian brand T2Tea, a purveyor of fine and funky teas and tea accessories. T2Tea grew its business online and boats a loyal social media following across Instagram and Facebook, in particular, targeting tea enthusiasts worldwide with their vibrant take on an age-old obsession.
Commenting on the impact that social trends have on a brand success stories, Jonathan Doughty said it was all about the consumer’s desire for ‘quality, culture and craftsmanship’ of products.
Italian chocolatier CiocolatItaliani, provided an example of a brand building a reputation around craftsmanship in particular. During a panel session on Emerging Food Trends, the audience heard how the brand has been built on two principles: firstly, Made in Italy – its authenticity is built on the ‘world’s best coco’ and the heritage of Italian chocolate, and, secondly, advocacy – social media impact has cemented CiocolatItaliani’s position both in-store and online.
3. China: don’t underestimate this nation of shoppers
This year, on China’s version of Black Friday – Singles Day (11/11) – Chinese online marketplace Alibaba traded US$18 billion. It’s estimated that it will take 9.9 billion cardboard boxes to ship all of these items to Chinese shoppers, for whom shopping is now a national pastime. What’s more, these consumers travel. Overseas retail spending among Chinese travellers has increased by US$120 million since 2013 and it’s rising each year.
During a panel session about China and South East Asia’s impact on global retail, JLL’s James Assersohn said: ‘It’s not El Dorado anymore, it’s established. The Chinese have a totally different attitude to consumption.”
4. A vision of the future: digital dressing rooms & pop-ups
Online retail is meeting the physical store in the fitting rooms and many agree that this is one example of technology that will come to define the future of retail.
David Zoba, Chairman of JLL’s Global Leasing Board, used Rebecca Minkoff’s New York store as an example. Its fitting rooms house connected wall mirrors, which can show shoppers items in different colours, sizes and styles to match what they’ve brought in to try on. Once changing is over, shoppers can touch the mirror to place an order or save items to buy later. Working alongside a mobile app, the fitting room can even adjust ambient light and temperature to give customers a full seasonal overview of their outfit.
Brands can no longer afford to ‘neglect online integration’ said Zoba.
For retailers keen to test the water, pop up shows will play a longer-term role in market expansion and tech adoption. From short term installations in shopping centres to 18-month semi-permanent stores, pop-ups are evolving to give brands more flexibility.