For years, decades, consumers migrated on weekends to large, immense, suburban shopping centers, with huge spaces for parking (who has not ever been in some shopping mall macroparking where parking areas received code names to make them easier to locate later?) and entertainment for the whole family. Consumers were rushing into these spaces to do all their shopping, from the weekly grocery shopping to the guilty pleasure on duty at the clothing stores. For decades this was the pattern of consumption. But it is not so much anymore.
Among the changes in south korean mobile company list that are marked by how consumers behave, one can find that of the disappearance of shopping centers as great promoters of consumption as they were before. Consumers no longer see these spaces as temples of consumption and hope that they will now become part of the community (which means that some of them have already started providing them with community activity programs to make them attractive). But, in addition, consumers are recovering the cities and stores of the center as a destination to make their purchases.
The city is not what it used to be and consumers are imposing their changes. Citizens are reclaiming city centers, which are filling up with new stores and which are once again becoming a showcase for brands. What are the agents that are pushing the city to change to adapt to these new times?
MillennialsThe vision that millennials have of urban distribution is different from that of previous generations and, therefore, makes them become disruptive elements about what cities are like and what they expect from them. How is the vision of millennials different from that of previous generations? Gen Y members want to live in a different place, they are unwilling to work in mammoth office spaces on the outskirts, and they also have a different vision of where they want to shop.
For starters, your aspirations in workspaces and living spaces are very different. According to a study by Cushman & Wakefield’s Global Business Consulting, millennials do not expect to adapt themselves to work spaces but rather that they adapt to the things that members of their generation ask for (such as having quiet areas, work spaces in those that can be walked or that have coffee areas). And they also have to be aware of where millennials live and where they therefore want these offices to be located.
Millennials have given up on the suburbs and middle-class suburbs: they like to live downtown. 62% of the members of this generation, according to this study, live in the central area of the cities and do so, on the other hand, for rent (in fact, the large houses and semi-detached chalets do not attract their attention and the houses built in the boom of the economic bubble they are the paradigm of what millennials do not want). American companies that are trying to attract millennial talent have already begun to move from large office campuses to the most central areas of cities, where offices are beginning to mix with shopping and restaurant areas to capture the attention of members of Generation Y.
The mix of consumer spaces is one of the great attractions that city centers have for millennials, as another study recalls , in this case by Nielsen. Millennials want to be in the places where things happen and things are happening in cities, which are becoming more and more dynamic. Cities therefore have to become an attractive space from the consumer point of view, either due to the influx of stores and brands that fit their preferences as well as the creation of a lively and comprehensive schedule of activities (millennials expect attractive exhibitions, concerts or bookstores that catch your eye).
Gentrification, negative or positive?And this wave of new interest in the city center has had an effect first in the urban centers of Anglo-Saxon cities and then in those of other countries that has been dubbed gentrification. The new inhabitants and their new De Phone Number habits have moved the traditional inhabitants of these areas (often problematic spaces within cities) to make way for new inhabitants and new businesses that increase the neighborhood’s cache and have an effect on rents. (making the former inhabitants of those areas have to move).
In Spain, one of the great examples of what a gentrification process can entail is the center of Madrid, which has become a fashionable area inhabited by modern young people who do their consumption there (the famous hipsters ) when it used to be a degraded area and one of those that used to be added to the list of undesirable spaces.
Although there are critical voices against these processes (who consider that when talking about urban regeneration what is really being done is to end cultural and population diversity and that they point rather to a class war – which the poorest lose – along the way ), the truth is that the process cannot be ignored when analyzing how consumption changes are changing cities.
You can agree or disagree with the processes that have changed who lives in the center (and what pays for it), but it cannot be ignored that these changes have had an effect on the setting. Cool shops, designer lofs, coworking spaces and bakeries have invaded city centers and old run-down neighborhoods, creating a new stream of consumption and moving populations. Brands therefore have to be aware that some of their consumers are now waiting for them in different places.
The importance of health as an element of consumptionHealth has become one of the most important elements in pushing consumer trends. Citizens are increasingly concerned about how their health is and have therefore started to consume healthier products, become obsessed with sport and give increasing importance to elements that previously did not matter as much as the impact that the environment has on the individuals.
In 1952, smog (the toxic fog that covered London on a recurring basis due to the mix between climatic conditions and polluting emissions to industry) killed about 12,000 inhabitants of the city (according to recent estimates, those at the time put it at 4,000 ) during the four days it was active. Although toxic mists are still a tremendous problem in some developing countries, consumers’ concern for them and the tolerance they would have for a situation similar to that of the 1950s today is much lower. Health (and also respect for the environment) has become a fundamental concern for consumers.
Studies on urban design and health follow one another and decisions about what cities are like are increasingly based on related issues. City centers are becoming increasingly car-free and filled with green spaces (or attempts are being made to create green lungs attached to them) in order to reduce the negative environmental impact of urban life. Walking in the city is something more and more common and that cities promote (you just have to see how pedestrian areas have grown in recent decades), which puts consumers on foot in the city.
The internet of things and the urbanAnd another of the changes that cities are experiencing is their conversion into smart spaces. As more people move to cities (globally, cities are attracting many inhabitants: so much so that 66% of people are expected to live in a city by 2050), cities are increasingly reaching out to smart to become more livable and efficient spaces. The internet of things is therefore not staying in the homes of citizens and has taken to the streets, to become a crucial element in the city of the future and possibly already in the present.
The smart cities , smart cities, have become commonplace and have begun to change how they are constructed and organize them. Although this should not be expected to automatically turn cities into spaces worthy of a science fiction movie: the intelligence layer is not really visible and does not consist so much of flying cars or self-driving buses as it usually appears in Futuristic films as more like traffic lights that adjust to the needs, street lights that know when to turn on or selective garbage collection.
Smart helps cities to be more rational and efficient. “Energy savings can rise by 30%, water consumption can be cut by half, the ratios of crime are reduced significantly and traffic can see a drop of 30% , ” points to Mashable Wim Elfrink, vicepresident of industry solutions and Chief Globalization Officer at Cisco.All this changes public spaces (and also generates a large amount of data on how citizens are) and therefore modifies how consumers behave in cities.