By 2015 the middle class will have disappeared in most developed countries taking mid-price retailers with them. Hence most consumer markets are already polarising between economy and premium sectors (low price versus luxury). However, customers can happily live in both segments buying $15 T-shirts one minute and $500 jeans the next.
Blurring of sectors
Bookshops selling coffee, coffee shops selling music, supermarkets selling loans, Ralph Lauren selling white paint and water companies selling gas. Just how far can you stretch a brand these days before it snaps?
High speed retail
24-hour banking, who’s got time for that?’ Like most good jokes this one, from US comedian Steve Wright, is close to the truth. People are leading increasingly hectic lives. Back in 1900 people slept for 9.0 hours every night. Now it’s just 6.9 hours. This is driving trends like drive-by dining, mobile banking and it’s also killing giant malls, which take too much time to shop. Equally, people are getting increasingly bored with the same brands in the same places, which in turn is driving ‘pop-up’ retail and ‘limited time only’ products and offers. Also links with the ‘Zara effect’.
A significant number of (lucky) people have got all the ‘stuff’ they need, so they are now, increasingly, looking for experiences not products. Research suggests that this is especially true for women. Examples include WHSmith (a UK stationer) selling cooking courses, hot air balloon lessons and Ferrari drive days. In theory this trend should benefit flagship retail, but the jury is still out on whether these temples of brand experience are really anything more than expensive poster sites.
Women are the biggest market on earth but they are largely ignored – because most of the world is run by men. Nevertheless, we’ve already got women only floors in hotels, women only nightclubs, women only gyms and women only department stores. Given that women buy 65% of cars and make 81% of financial decisions, how long before we see women only garages and women only banks?
Source: What’s Next
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