Retail sales fall: 'Shoppers want experiences, not products'

shopping pr

16 November 2017

  • UK retail sales fell by 0.3% in October from a year earlier, the first annual fall since 2013
  • Retail expert Professor Heiner Evanschitzky says this falls in line for growing shopper hunger for experiences rather than products.

As retail sales figures are reported to have fallen for the first time since 2013, a leading retail expert says this may demonstrate the rise in consumer hunger for experience rather than products when shopping.

Professor Heiner Evanschitzky of the Centre for Retail Insights at Aston University said:

“While overall retail sales might have fallen for the first time since 2013, different retail industries and individual retailers within the same industry show vastly different sales outcomes.

“In general, the trend of falling sales of physical goods is in line with what’s been called ‘peak stuff’. This means the amount of ‘stuff’ – or physical products – produced and sold might well have seen its peak. This phenomenon is line with Aston Centre for Retail Insights (ACRI) research which showed consumers increasingly look for ‘experiences’ rather than physical products when shopping.”

He added: “There are winners and losers from this sales fall. Retailers with a clear focus, for instance on price and value such as Aldi, Lidl and other discounters, as well as offering desirable products such as fashion retailer Ted Baker, may do well out of this. However, those with a poor positioning and unclear focus will have suffered.

“The bottom line is that even in a challenging retail environment, retailers can and do thrive if they have a clear focus.”


Notes to the editor

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established research-led university known for its world-class teaching quality, and strong links to business and the professions. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students.  Professor Alec Cameron is the Vice Chancellor & Chief Executive.

Aston has been a leading university for graduate employment success for over 25 years and our students do extremely well in securing top jobs and careers.  Our strong relationships with industry partners mean we understand the needs of employers, which is why we are also ranked in the top 20 for graduate employability

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