Where will retail be in 10 years

by Warren Richmond | CEO Situ Live

Mar 29, 2021

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield recently revisited their 2020 trends report to create the 'Westfield How We Shop: What's Changed'. The updated 2021 report explores how consumers across Europe will be shopping by 2030, accumulated from surveys of 15,700 consumers across ten European countries.

One of its foremost predictions was that 2025 will be the tipping point when more than half of retail space in stores will be dedicated to providing experiences. To illustrate this rising trend, the experiential Situ Live venue is featured in the report.

In the report five key trends are identified which will transform the retail industry entirely: upside down retail; anti-prescription; self-sustaining stores; retail surgery and locally-morphed retail.

Upside-down retail

66 per cent of shoppers expect the majority of retail space to be dedicated to offering up experiences by 2025, this is a 10% increase on 2020. As we move closer to this 'experience tipping point', retailers are going to have to be even more agile in 2021 and beyond to deliver on this consumer demand.

The appetite for innovation is significant - shoppers want to escape from the mundane every day, which is why so many are excited by the prospect of escapist experiences. Almost a third of shoppers want to try gaming experiences like escape rooms or virtual reality. These types of spaces give customers even more reasons to keep coming back.

42 per cent of shoppers crave more creative experiences in store. With health and gaming experiences cited as the most popular, as well as experiences that help visitors live a better life.

In 2021 there will also be a greater focus on retailers embracing new uses for their space, with 96% considering or already introducing new purposes into their spaces such as work, learning, games, well-being, community or sport.


As the online and offline worlds continue to converge, more shoppers are opening their minds to new ways of discovering products that are right for them via new retail technology and innovations.

89 per cent of Londoners have expressed an interest in at least one type of in-store shopping technology, while 20 per cent said they would value in-store tech such as augmented reality and immersive digital experiences.

None more so than Millennials, of whom 37 per cent are interested in smart interactive mirrors and 26 per cent in digital in-store innovations.

51 per cent of respondents said that they see shopping as a leisure activity and enjoy browsing instore. This is partially why shoppers are twice as likely to impulse shop instore rather than online. Therefore, it is likely physical stores will be used to surprise and delight.

Consumers are also requesting that more of their favourite digital-only brands enter physical retail spaces, as 80 per cent of consumers enjoy the overall vibe of shopping in stores. Some established D2C brands including Dyson, Glossier and Huawei have had significant success with dedicated experiential stores.

Self-sustaining stores

Concerns around sustainability are reaching fever pitch, and 76 per cent of Europeans want to do more to address environmental issues. They want retailers to shorten the supply chain, produce items which are built to last and ban single-use plastics.

57 per cent of UK shoppers are committing to being more mindful of their online purchases because of the distribution and packaging impact on the environment. We should note that there is a clear generational divide as over 60 per cent of Millennials and Gen Z agree with this statement, compared with less than 50 per cent of Gen X and Baby Boomers.

66 per cent of consumers are willing to pay a premium for sustainable goods. Retailers that have sustainability at the heart of their strategy will likely benefit greatly from doing so.

Retail surgery

Personalisation is a trend that isn’t going away anytime soon. Over the next ten years, retailers will likely take personalisation to the next level, using science to diagnose precise needs.         

The retail surgery trend has seen much acceleration over the last year, with retailer and consumer attention more heavily focused on health and wellness than ever before. Retailers have a big role to play in making shoppers feel safe and catered for. There is also a growing desire for more integrated services – from mental health support as you dine, to air purification as you shop. More and more shoppers are keen for retailers to use scientific data to inform future purchase recommendations. In fact, 49 per cent of Millennials would be happy for stores to share their DNA or health measurements to receive better product or service recommendations in the future.


During the pandemic, community has never been more important, with more and more people coming together to help support their local areas. As retail spaces evolve, they will increasingly become symbiotic community hubs, with 70 per cent of consumers wanting retail environments to reflect the people who live in the area.

It pays to support the community as well, with over 60 per cent of Millennials and Gen Z saying they are more likely to buy from brands that have been giving back to the community throughout Covid-19.

There is also a desire for more locally-flavoured experiences, especially nostalgic ones. 42 per cent of shoppers want future retail environments to also operate as social hubs and event spaces for the wider community.

Pioneering the new era of experiential retail

These trends indicate that the retail industry is going to undergo a seismic transformation over the next year. Shoppers of the future will expect to be inspired and enlightened at every turn.

Situ Live is pioneering the move to experiential retail in the UK, as it launches a new interactive shopper experience at Westfield London later this year.

For consumer goods brands looking for a flexible, low-risk approach to experiential retail, Situ Live provides low-cost access to prime retail real estate. Products are brought to life through immersive store design and storytelling, enabling consumers to develop everlasting relationships with the featured brands.

The team are looking for innovative lifestyle brands across one of six areas: Nutrition Kitchen, Mobile Working, On the Move, Fitness and Wellbeing, Home Entertainment and Connected Home.

If you'd like to experience the future of retail first-hand, please contact us on: hello@situlive.com for an exclusive preview.