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#BizTrends2019: 4 trends defining the commercial, retail property sectors in 2019
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Here are four trends most likely to impact the local commercial and retail property space during 2019.
Internationally, WeWork started out as a co-working space. As it grew from a single office to a global network with operations in 23 countries, so it changed the landscape for commercial properties: no longer is it sufficient to provide a simple working environment. The modern workplace has now evolved into an experience: in line with the demands of millennials, and now Generation Z, office workers demand not only ergonomically designed workspaces, but also offices that provide a range of amenities, all culminating in an outstanding ambience.
2. Changing business models
By now, we know that the traditional business model is disappearing. In its place? Companies that embrace remote working and flexi-hours, or which even second workers to a co-working space to create relief for space requirements and, by extension, rentals. But this also means that things are changing for owners and landlords: they have to adapt their spaces, and increasingly this is meaning venturing into mixed-use developments. Adaptation is happening in other areas too: when times are tough, as they are now, many tenants prefer a short-term or flexible lease – and commercial property owners must step forward or risk losing the business.
3. Bring in the tech
Rowland Gurnell, managing director, Excellerate Services’ Facilities Management Division
4. Uncertainty is certain
The recession has played havoc with South Africa’s retail sector – although ours is not the only country to be experiencing this tumult. Internationally, players are dealing with this scenario by using non-retail (think health and fitness operations, medical facilities or entertainment providers) to attract foot traffic, for example, or redesigning existing properties as mixed-use precincts.
Here, technology is presenting a double-edged sword: on the one hand, there are online retailers, and their greater responsiveness in terms of personalisation and instant (rather than same day) deliveries, which have stolen custom from many shopping malls; but on the other, data analytics gives landlords the chance to develop deeper insights about shoppers and use these to tweak operations for better results. It’s not that retail will ever disappear (not even overseas); rather, it’s about making sure that whatever is offered in the physical space betters what is offered online – service may become more important than merchandising, for example. We can also look forward to shorter team leases and more pop-ups as long-term leases become a risky proposition.