49% of millennials willing to share DNA for better shopping experience

Nearly half of millennials would be willing to share their DNA for a better shopping experience, according to new research from Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield.

The study, which surveyed 2000 UK shoppers and 500 retailers, found that 78 per cent of consumers are now interested in health experiences and innovations in-store, which is up by 20 per cent on the previous year.

The report predicted that the ‘retail surgery’ market, which is dedicated to prescribing products for specific personal needs, could be worth up to £40 billion per month in the UK alone in 2020.

The Plasma Donor centre and the Vaccination centre which have both recently launched at Westfield Stratford, demonstrate how shopping centres are changing into community hubs.

According to the survey, nine in ten retailers are considering introducing community initiatives over the next 18 months.

The new study from Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield found five key retail trends uncovered last year and that have developed over the past 12 months: Anti-Prescription, Upside-Down Retail, Self-Sustaining Stores, Retail Surgery and Locally-Morphed.

“This report shines a fascinating light on how things changed so dramatically in 2020, and crucially which of these trends are likely to continue,” said Harry Wallop, expert retail analyst. “Some of the trends, bubbling along for some time now, have been turbo-charged thanks to Covid-19: the shift online, the emergence of contactless stores; digital innovations such as robot assistants and interactive mirrors – dismissed by many as a stunt – are now being taken seriously.”

Alongside a shift towards ‘retail surgery,’ consumers now also want to shop more locally. With more than half of Brits having shopped more locally in 2020 than in the previous year due to the pandemic, 49 per cent of consumers now want to buy more locally sourced products.

The research also predicts that by 2025, retailers will allocate more square meterage for experiences over products.

A further 57 per cent of UK shoppers said that they would be more mindful of their online purchases due to the distribution and packaging impact on the environment.

“The past year has changed retail as we know it, and as we look to the future of shopping and leisure destinations, the How We Shop Report highlight’s the great opportunities that will emerge,” said Scott Parsons, UK chief operating officer for Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield. “Our research shows the potential rise of community integration with 96 per cent of retailers considering introducing community initiatives in the next 18 months, whilst the focus the floorspace ratio of experience to product tipping point has been accelerated 3 years to 2022. Now, more than ever, Briton’s crave physical experiences, albeit in a new and different way, and I am confident that our London centres will re-emerge stronger than ever.”

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