Rise of Community Shopping Centres as 78% of Shoppers Visit at least Weekly

27th Jun 2017

Community shopping centres are playing an increasingly important role in the overall retail experience, according to a new report from Savills and Ellandi, with 78% of shoppers visiting one at least weekly and 92% at least monthly.  Retail Revolutions: The Rise of the Community Shopping Centre highlights a polarisation of shopping patterns, with a clear distinction between dominant centres visited occasionally and functional local shopping fitted around busy, every-day life.

The Midlands, North West and North East regions have the most frequent visitation of community shopping centres, with 80% of consumers visiting once a week or more, states the report.  By contrast, just 15% of consumers nationally visit large regional shopping centres weekly, and 44% visit less than twice a year.  Retail parks draw 19% of shoppers at least once a week, rising to 53% for high streets.

Tom Whittington, retail research director at Savills, comments: “While destination schemes provide high profile, less frequent retail experiences, most shopping trips take place much closer to home.  The difference in visit frequency is closely linked to the nature of the retail journey different types of scheme support.  Local centres generally offer a high proportion of groceries and staple goods while destination schemes provide a greater number of fashion and comparison goods, with a more comprehensive leisure offer.  However, there is clearly more to the relationship with community shopping centres than convenience, as revealed by the surprisingly long dwell times and range of goods purchased.”

The report highlights that 44% of trips to community shopping centres last longer than one hour nationally, rising to 51% in Greater London and 66% in Northern Ireland.  Across all areas, just 30% of trips are less than half an hour long.  The typically short travel times also underline the fact that such centres serve a very local population, with 79% of shoppers undertaking journeys of less than 20 minutes, and 46% journeys of less than 10 minutes. 

High conversion rates and spend profiles also point to the importance of community shopping centres, says the report, with 78% of shoppers spending money when they visit.  The average basket spend across all age groups is £36.60 per visit, rising to £78 for trips longer than two hours.  Shoppers also tend to spend more on non-grocery goods (£34 average) than food-grocery (£26 average) per visit.  Generation X (born in the 1960s or 1970s) has the highest spend profile, with an average of £42 per visit.

Morgan Garfield, managing director at Ellandi, adds: "Successful shopping centres have to be relevant to their core shoppers.  Our empirical evidence proves community shopping centres are at the heart of how people across the UK shop and live.  They are highly relevant to both shoppers and retailers.  Understanding who shops where and why defines the purpose of retail properties.  Utilising data and real insight, this research helps to dispel the notion that retail property is dead and highlights that community shopping centres are a sustainable and attractive asset class."

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