10 new rules of retail, according to a trend analyst | Fin24

10 new rules of retail, according to a trend analyst

Jun 22 2019 15:24
Carin Smith

From clothing rentals to shops on demand, retail trends are changing fast, says Dion Chang, trend analyst and founder of Flux Trends.

At the annual conference of the SA Property Owners' Association (SAPOA) in Cape Town on Thursday, Chang presented 10 trends, which, in his analysis, are reshaping the retail industry.

Here's what to look out for.

Transient ownership

This includes rental car sharing and will have a ripple effect on the property industry, in Chang's view.

In clothing retail there is an increase in the uptake of so-called clothing rental - especially in the upscale, vintage market of fashion clothing. Some big brands are even starting to embrace the clothing rental market.

Stealth bomber shoppers

These consumers research online where they can get what they want, then go to the mall, park as close as possible to that particular store, rush in and rush out.


The "cleanser tribe" likes to get rid of their belongings. They do not like to own lots of "stuff" and rather to create more "stories".

The 'free-from' movement

Another rising "tribe" is the so-called "free-from" movement. These consumers eat a plant-based diet and prefer not to drink alcohol.

Town square feeling

"Digitisation has killed the 'town square' purpose of shopping centres," said Chang. He said some stores - like Apple - are now trying to bring back that "town square" feel for shoppers in-store.

Click and collect

Another trend is having "the last mile" of the shopping experience be digitised and on demand. According to Chang, this is almost like meeting the shop halfway – not quite online shopping, but not quite traditional brick-and-mortar shopping either.

He gave an example of Walmart in the US that created a huge refrigerated vending machine, where customers can pick up their goods.

Rethinking mall space

According to Chang, as shopping trends change, mall spaces are being redefined. This could also include working spaces for use, including presentation rooms.

"Your relationship with your customer is not just transactional anymore. Brands and stores become more like learning centres," said Chang.

High art

In terms of design, experience becomes important. The retail space almost becomes elevated to a high art form, with displays of produce creating a feeling not unlike an art gallery. For example, said Chang, a vegan food store might display the fresh produce in a beautiful and artistic way.

Generation Z

"Gen Z is the future of shopping. The millennial bus has left. Millennials are now firmly in their 30s and managers. Gen Zs is the next generation of shoppers and workers," said Chang.

"Their social barometer is very high, and they will not give brand loyalty if you are not sustainable and they will work for you only if you are transparent."

He explained that for Generation Z there is no line between online shopping and in-store shopping. They use a mix of things.


Simply entertaining consumers at a mall may bring more footfall, but not necessarily more revenue, according to Chang.

"Entertainment is not the same as creating an experience. An experience is merging tech and brick-and-mortar shopping to make it memorable for the customer," he explained.

"For me it is about providing creative retail services. Retail is not broken, it just needs to push the right buttons with consumers to make sure they will keep coming back."

sapoa  |  property  |  retail  |  generation-z


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