Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Retailing the 1990's and Today Part 2.....

1990   "New Concepts"                                               2011 "New Concepts"
·         The CBD retail market share was declining, making way for the emergence of the suburban shopping centre. Retailing also evolved towards the inclusion of a leisure component such as movie theatres, family entertainment areas, food courts and video game parlours. It was the beginning of the concept that shopping centres required a competitive marketing edge or point of difference to survive.

·         The sheer magnitude of online retailing’s insurgence could not have been predicted with sites such as eBay taking this market to levels never previously predicted. Consumers find online retailing an efficient way to browse, compare and purchase providing an effective transaction medium. Over recent years ‘deal’ websites have emerged as the new retailing trend for consumers to acquire savings, with countless websites offering everything from products to experiences including massages, automotive servicing, holidays, and dinging out.

·         Self-checkout machines were implemented in supermarkets and discount department stores, providing a convenient alternative to the cahier-staffed checkout.

·         Not all new concepts in retailing offer convenience for consumers, with paid car parks and coin (or token) operated trolleys introduced at some shopping centres.

Socio-Economic Trends
·         Consumer desire for ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ skincare products started to skyrocket in the 1990's, fuelled by the growing awareness of the impact of highly fragrant and synthetic skincare and cosmetic products have on the environment and our own health and wellbeing.
·         The trend and importance of ‘not tested on animals’ may have emerged in the 1990s, but in the post GFC market, there has been a further consumer shift in the quality and service offered through feel good products/services expressing values of environmental concern and social responsibility over price cutting.
·         On a national basis specialised items such as fresh meat, was predominantly purchased at butchers rather than supermarkets, but was moving towards supermarkets.
·         The popularity of reality TV shows such as ‘Masterchef Australia’ has also generated an increasing interest in home cooking and experimentation with a wider range of fresh produce and kitchenwares. The increasing incidence of the top-up shopping trip for a small basket of goods, coupled with fresh food and healthy lifestyles promoted throughout society has perpetuated a propensity to shop more frequently, ensuring a continued supply of fresh food.

·         Recent demographic and socio-economic trends have recognised the increasing proportion of dual income households, typically time poor, driving the increase in services including takeaway, cleaning, childcare, etc.

 But what do these trends mean for the future of retail in Australia?  It will be interesting to see if online sales represent the future of Australian retailing– online shopping may offer considerable benefits to both consumers and sellers and there may be plenty of deals and bargains to be found, but can an online sale compete with the experience of going to a shopping centre and actually seeing and touching an item before purchase? Some shoppers also have concerns with shipping costs, delivery times and credit card security. On the plus side however, is being able to shop without dealing with crowded shopping centres, parking and traffic.

As for the future of Australian retail trade, the latest figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) indicate a moderate increase in retail turnover, with reports of a 2.8% increase for Australia in October 2011 compared with October 2010. This growth was more dominant in industries which provide a higher quality of life and basic needs such as cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services and household goods, while less prominent for the clothing, footwear and personal accessory industry and department stores.

As society changes, expenditure is predicted to further shift towards the service industry as a time poor society is willing to bear the financial burden to achieve a higher quality of life. This higher quality of life is also connected to purchases of esotericism rather than necessity as society aims to achieve higher needs.

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