Consumers are becoming less predictable; retailers can no longer rely on traditional behaviour assumptions to optimise their store estate performance.
The influence of all channels – digital and physical – is shaping how, when and why shoppers use bricks-and-mortar stores to make a purchase. To understand the role of physical retail in a multichannel world, retailers need to understand how online and offline factors impact consumer traffic.
ShopperTrak’s new trends report offers statistical insight into shopper behaviour across Q1 2017, and our findings reveal a number of interesting patterns:
Consumer confidence is growing
Despite general global uncertainties caused by political and economic influences, the good news is that consumer confidence continues to grow across the world.
In India, this resulted in a spending surge, which increased consumer traffic by +6.5% in Q1, driven primarily by confidence among the country’s fast-emerging (and relatively affluent) urban middle class.
Another country to benefit from an increasingly optimistic outlook was Japan, with confidence exceeding market estimates and hitting its highest level since September 2013. Bolstered by a declining unemployment rate, Japan’s shopper traffic saw an increase of +6.1% during the quarter. Hong Kong, too, recorded growth.
Outside of the Asia-Pacific region, many retailers in Europe experienced the positive impact of rising confidence levels. Footfall in Spain grew by +3.7%, while in Austria, quarterly traffic rose by +0.3% Year-on-Year.
Strong response to international brands
One result of growing consumer confidence is that retailers continue to launch into new markets, deploying stores to meet growing demand.
Spain’s recovering consumer market is proving fertile ground for international fast fashion brands, including Zara, H&M and Uniqlo, which are helping the country increase traffic by +3.7% Year-on-Year, according to our report.
Australia is also proving an attractive prospect for international retailers, and the country’s shoppers are embracing international value chains including TK Maxx and Kaufland. Relatedly, India’s booming market has become the focus for global giants, such as Walmart and Amazon.
Tourist spend lifts markets
It is not just domestic shoppers who are supporting retail traffic growth. Tourists are a major contributor to store footfall in many countries, and Q1 2017 saw international visitor spend improve traffic levels in several countries.
For example, Hong Kong’s consumer activity increased by +3.5% across the quarter, and rising property prices in neighbouring China are set to further drive tourist traffic.
Even in regions where footfall declined, tourism helped to mitigate the impact of lower domestic spending. The Republic of Ireland is a good example of this: shopper footfall decreased just -0.1% Year-on-Year, buoyed by spending from international visitors.
Get the global view
Globally, it is crucial for retailers to understand how multichannel influence impact store performance in real time.
By investing in customer insight technology, retailers can make informed decisions when choosing where to deploy their marketing, staffing and operational resources to best meet shopper demand, and, in doing so, ensure their stores are positioned to maximise sales and profitability.
For more valuable insight into how shoppers in the leading European and APAC economies are behaving in-store, download ShopperTrak’s latest Global Shopper Trends report.