CBRE: Shopping Centers To Reinvent Themselves As Simply ‘Centers’ By 2030

Future shopping centers will become simply ‘centers’ by reinventing themselves as mixed-use destinations and adding healthcare, educational and leisure uses, said CBRE, Los Angeles.

In The Future Of Retail 2030, CBRE also predicted traditional gas stations will change as they become “mini logistics hubs,” and will serve as collection points for online shoppers.

“Retail will evolve at a quickening pace, reshaping the roles of the shopping center, the gas station and the store,” CBRE Director of Global Retail Research Natasha Patel said.

Patel said these changes could catch some by surprise because the consumer’s mindset and requirements will evolve more quickly than the industry can adapt. “This means that investors and occupiers need to get ahead of the changing trends rather than catching up,” she said.

CBRE also examined 40 “futurist” insights into how retail will evolve due to changing consumer lifestyles, retail operations, logistics and other trends affecting the industry. It revealed its predictions at MAPIC, the retail real estate conference in France.

Other insights in the Retail 2030 report include:

The in-store checkout desk will be replaced by faster and cash-free ways to pay. “Many retailers have already taken away the physical checkout desk,” the report said. “This is likely to continue as technology plays an increasingly important role as an enabler of retail sales. This will result in a reduction in the number of retail assistants required in this part of the customer’s in-store experience.”

The number of wellness establishments will grow, CBRE said, noting the “Instagram generation” will have an even greater interest in looking and feeling good than prior generations. Fitness centers will become “commonplace” in malls, urban areas and in new-build residential properties, the report said.

Fitting rooms will help–rather than hinder–the shopping experience, the report said. New technology will allow customers to “try on” clothing in a virtual environment and will show items already owned in combination with the item under consideration. “Fitting room technology will also allow the customer to request a different size or style via touchscreen,” negating the need to leave the fitting room, CBRE said. 

“These insights are wide ranging, but we do see common themes,” CBRE Executive Managing Director of Retail Advisory and Transaction Services Anthony Buono said. “Customers want quick access to goods and services across any and all channels and they want meaningful experiences around their purchases, be that education, entertainment or wellness.”