Winter 2017
Top 10 Industry Trends of 2017

Yes, you’ve heard it before: the only constant in retail is change. As e-commerce becomes firmly entrenched, the physical retail landscape is changing in noteworthy and spectacular ways. We explore the enduring trends that have sprouted recently and will continue to make waves this year. Here’s what to expect.

1: It’s All About the Experience

Millennials love experiences, the more outlandish the better. Given that people 18-34 in 2015 are now officially the largest demographic segment in the United States at 75.4 million, shopping centers are

increasingly paying attention and delivering just the kinds of experience they’re looking for. Skydiving in a mall? You got it! Paint-and-sip studios? Sure thing! The Mall of the Emirates in Dubai even has a “snow bullet,” a zipline which soars above an artificially recreated ski slope.

Bryan Laing, the VP of Client Services for Footwear and Apparel for IDL Worldwide, a global firm focused on experiential marketing, says that the craving for experiences is a natural offshoot of our increasingly digital lives and the level of noise in the marketplace. Millennials, he points out, have grown up expecting elevated experiences. “You even see it in things like college recruiting—amazing new dorm experiences, unbelievable athletic facilities, and gourmet food options.” Laing predicts that this appetite for experiences will continue to play out in the physical retail landscape as well with stores becoming more like showrooms and delivering experiences instead. One could argue that pop-up shops have become increasingly popular because they deliver a valuable experience in a narrow window of time.

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Patricia Norins

Patricia Norins serves as VP of Specialty Retail & Publications at the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). Considered the authority on specialty retail, she has been tracking the industry for the past thirty years. Norins is Publisher of Specialty Retail Report, the voice of the specialty retail industry (carts, kiosks and pop-up stores). SRR has a readership of more than 75,000 each quarter.

Poornima Apte

Poornima Apte is a Boston-area freelance writer and editor specializing in retail and the book publishing industry. Learn more at
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