CBRE: Customers are interested in small shopping centres and high street

How do people shop for non-food goods? What is the role of shopping centres and their types? What are the consumers' requirements related to shopping and what is the role played by experiences? How do consumers change their behaviour in the on-line and in-store world? And, is such behaviour different in different countries? CBRE, the world leader in commercial real estate, introduced the results of the pan-European study How Consumers Shop and Czech study Shopping Centre Index.

The How Consumers Shop survey, involving 21,000 respondents in 21 countries, monitors consumer behaviour. The Shopping Centre Index study describes the functioning of regional shopping centres using a sample of ten regional shopping centres with more than 230,000 sq m, 730 retailers and 38.5 million customers.

“The How Consumers Shop study has revealed several interesting details having a great impact on retailers’ planning of future activities. In particular, the interest of European customers in smaller shopping centres and high street is growing,” says Veronika Tebichová, Head of Retail Agency, CBRE. While customers in in Western European countries show an increasing interest in smaller shopping centres and high street, customers in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia still prefer large shopping centres.

Price, cleanness, convenience and security

The most important factor for visiting a shopping centre remains, above all, the price. This factor remains the same in the Czech Republic as well as in the other countries involved in the survey. Another important factor is cleanness, followed by shopping convenience together with security.

Price, cleanliness, convenience and security are therefore on the top of the list of factors that consumers expect to be present across all countries in all kinds of shopping centres. Diverse tenant mix, parking capacities and personal security counts among very important factors.

How customers travel to shop

Convenient access is also a critical factor for consumers when choosing where to shop European consumers travel 6 to 15 minutes to their most often visited non-food shopping areas - generally smaller shops or shops in the high street location. “Customers travel considerably longer in the Czech Republic They usually travel 16 to 30 minutes. With an increasing income the willingness to travel to more distant shopping centres decreases, in particular in males,” says Veronika Tebichová.

And, how often do customers shop? On average, it is 39 times a year for European customers, and 30 times a year for Czech customers. Interestingly, unlike the typical European customer, the Czech customer searches for products and information about products on-line far more often.

Needs and requirements by age

Different expectations by age are also apparent. As expected, younger age groups appreciate the social aspects of shopping centres much more than older groups. Meeting friends and the advantage of present entertainment services such as cinemas and free Wi-Fi are viewed positively. This group tends to use public transport more and are therefore less concerned with parking.

Renovation is an attractive lure for new customers

Renovation of shopping facilities is vital to reinvigorate retail shopping centres. Half of the interviewed consumers expressed that they prefer the convenience of local shopping to dominant, purpose-built shopping centres. Consumers are more likely to visit renovated shopping facilities. Higher earners are also more appreciative of improvements, with modern facilities drawing big spenders. From an attractiveness point of view, it is vital for shopping centres to keep their pleasant atmosphere which will encourage customers to return to the shopping centre.

As the Shopping Centre Index study proved, the most frequently represented categories of occupiers found in shopping centres managed by CBRE are fashion (56%), entertainment (18%) and convenience (9%). In addition, the survey has proven that the size of individual units in shopping centres must be well balanced. For example, in CBRE-managed centres, small units within 200 sq m form 32% of the floor area, units between 200 and 500 sq m form 25%, 500 to 1,000 sq m 22% and units larger than 1,000 sq m form 22%. This trend clearly shows that the potential lies in small shopping centres much more likely than in the development of new large ones.