What does ‘blurring the boundaries’ mean?
Boundaries between the different areas of consumers’ lives are blending as people explore new ways of living. Sectors that have previously been distinct from each other are starting to converge, as innovative developers and brands respond to new customer trends across retail, food & beverage, hospitality and leisure.
We are living in a time of rapid change. The balance of power is changing worldwide as economies grow or shrink, and digital technology is disrupting traditional hierarchies between customers and brands, citizens and governments. Digital is continually raising consumer expectations ever higher, propelling brands, companies and governments to move faster and be more responsive. The rules of the game have changed.
Why does it matter?
It’s a time of ‘business unusual’: many traditional companies across sectors are struggling. There has been a cultural change in how customers spend their money, with an (often-cited) shift to favouring experiences over things. Brands who can’t move quickly enough to respond to these changes won’t survive. Adding to these challenges, operators are facing increased costs as a result of the living wage and business rates pressures. Meanwhile, household spending has slowed due to a squeeze on real incomes, and there’s the added uncertainty surrounding Brexit.
UK spending on entertainment grew by 10.2% across 2017, versus an average spending increase of 3.6%
- Barclaycard, 2018
Companies that fail are often criticised for losing sight of their core customers and for failing to keep up with changing consumer behaviour. Keeping a sharp focus on your customer is key when designing commercial spaces to ensure that they remain relevant and profitable tomorrow.
Almost a fifth of listed retailers issued profit warnings in the first three months of 2018 - a seven-year high.
- EY Report 2018
There is opportunity in the midst of these changes for companies that are prepared to innovate. Design is a powerful and often underused way that developers and brands can respond and remain relevant, preparing for increasing convergence between the sectors.
For more information and a copy of our latest white paper ‘Blurring Boundaries: Learning from multiple sectors to design the commercial spaces of the future’ including our insights and best practice examples please contact our studio today.