Published 11 January 2023

18 min read

Physical brand environments matter: while digital commerce remains vital and rich in possibilities, e-tail growth is slowing, bricks-and-mortar stores still dominate consumer spending, and Gen Zers overwhelmingly prefer IRL shops (see Key Stats). Covering validation studios, ‘meta-physical’ flagships, ‘nexperiums’ and more, we unpack nine emerging and evolving global store trends for wins in 2023/24.

1: Validation Studios & Asset Stores

2: Urban Playgrounds: Socialising Wellness

3: ‘Neighbourgood’ Watch Hubs: Community, Conviviality & Careers

4: Revita-Stores: Swap, Repair, Recreate & Recycle

5: Feelgood Flagships: Sensorial Enclaves

6: Ultra-Architecture & Web3 Flexi-Flagships

7: ‘Nexperiums’: Retail Observatories

8: Dynamic Data Destinations: Upgrading Omni

9: Zoomer Destinations: Youth Clubs Glow Up

With consumers increasingly perceiving their possessions as ‘assets’ – 90 million Europeans first tried reselling in 2021, up from 16 million in 2020 (Cross-Border Commerce Europe, 2021) – expect wins from brand spaces that not only (imaginatively) support reselling but also verify and value goods, both physical and digital.

With consumers increasingly perceiving their possessions as ‘assets’ – 90 million Europeans first tried reselling in 2021, up from 16 million in 2020 (Cross-Border Commerce Europe, 2021) – expect wins from brand spaces that not only (imaginatively) support reselling but also verify and value goods, both physical and digital.

Summary

1: Validation Studios & Asset Stores

With consumers increasingly perceiving their possessions as ‘assets’ – 90 million Europeans first tried reselling in 2021, up from 16 million in 2020 (Cross-Border Commerce Europe, 2021) – expect wins from brand spaces that not only (imaginatively) support reselling but also verify and value goods, both physical and digital.

2: Urban Playgrounds: Socialising Wellness

Also primed for success in 2023/24 are the urban brand spaces bringing the power of socialised play into the heart of sporting concept stores. Key to their stickiness is the outreach to a wider community, blending public and private, consumers and fandoms, and often also historic legacy and contemporary living.

3: ‘Neighbourgood’ Watch Hubs: Community, Conviviality & Careers

Locality remains key for 2023/24, with consumers appreciating brands with a local presence that contribute meaningfully to the communities they inhabit (see Key Stats). Alongside improving areas economically or ecologically, look to spaces nurturing upskilling and culture and/or bringing the spark of neighbourhood conviviality to life.

4: Revita-Stores: Swap, Repair, Recreate & Recycle

Tallying with 2022 Deloitte research that examined how the twin pressures of the pandemic and rising inflation have sharpened appetites for repair and reuse, 2023/24 will bring wins for brands investing in spaces focusing on product swaps or revitalisation, from electronics to fashion.

5: Feelgood Flagships: Sensorial Enclaves

Continuing the pleasure-centric storytelling detailed in Retail’s New Wellness Narratives, flagships playing on a sensory edge will also see success in 2023/24. Temples to ‘feel-goodness’, these spaces respond to the recent memories of pandemic-driven sensory deprivation and the desire for integrative or alternative health solutions.

6: Ultra-Architecture & Web3 Flexi-Flagships

Physical flagships will mainstream access to and build consumer confidence in Web3 technologies and formats (the metaverse, NFTs) in 2023/24, shining an imaginative new lens on phygital (physical meets digital) brand experiences in the process. The shift will amplify a new genre of ultra-architecture, encompassing extraordinary façades.

7: ‘Nexperiums’: Retail Observatories

Contemporising the long-running ‘beta brandscapes’ trend for 2023/24 are ‘Nexperiums’ – experiential, horizon-scanning environments that make incoming design, developments and research tangible. From food to beauty to consumer tech, consider them bastions of delightful yet digestible discovery.

8: Dynamic Data Destinations: Upgrading Omni

Omnichannel stores have been on the menu for years, but new designs offering incremental upgrades present key inspiration for 2023/24. Evolving strategies in Creating the Contactless Store technology, including pre-book fitting room apps, QR-code-enabled pick-up instructions and instant digital comparison tables, are adding powerful utilities into the mix.

9: Zoomer Destinations: Youth Clubs Glow Up

With young people preferring physical stores to e-commerce (as an antidote to hyper-digitised life – see Key Stats) while being disproportionately affected by the shift to working from home (see Civic Commerce), youth-centric store spaces bolstering cultural connections, professional opportunities and a sense of belonging deserve extra attention in 2023/24.

Brand Spaces: 9 Trends & Opportunities, 2023/24

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Offering access to over 350 consumer and cross-industry reports annually, Stylus Membership is your window to tomorrow’s most exciting opportunities.

We already arm more than 500 of the world’s most forward-thinking brands and agencies with the creative insights they need to make transformative business decisions.

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