Themes > Marketing >The new shape of shopping
The new shape of shopping

Marketing is facing new challenges in the retail area.

Shopping in the UK had its golden age in the 1980's. There was buoyant consumer confidence, new technological products, such as CD's, stimulated demand, and edge-of-town developments boomed. However, the new retail environment is much more complex, competitive and uncertain. New strategies will be vital for survival.

Changing demographics

The "grey market" will double by 2020. The over-60's will be richer and have more leisure. However, it is not easy to predict their shopping habits. Just what product mix will match them? How far will the over-60's take on board new technologies and attitudes.

There has been much talk of the emergent "green consumer". Yet it is the falling demographic sectors who shop most greenly - the young.


Reflecting the uncertain and fragmented nature of the future retail landscape, marketing has had to become increasingly complex and "micro". Time and effort is going into targeting niche markets. Markets are being analysed not only in terms of class or area but according to minute differentiations in tastes, lifestyles and attitudes.


The markets opened up by out-of-centre supermarkets are becoming saturated. One response has been a move downmarket into deep discount supermarkets. Some experts predict a growth of teleshopping helped by the spread in cable networks. One spin-off of teleshopping, incidentally, will be a rise in specifically targeted advertising via such networks. Instead of broadcasting adverts to the old "admass", the new buzz word is "narrowcasting".


Retailing will become more international. In the UK the pioneers in deep discounting were continentals such as Aldi and Netto. Recently, the Japanese have been buying big stores such as Simpson and Aquascutum. Many British now cross the channel to shop in France - the cross-channel spree has become a national institution.

In general, however, the British consumer may stay different from his neighbours on the continent. A recent survey of food retailers, for example, showed that while "lifestyle" and "environment" were important factors for continental consumers, "cheapness" and "safety" remained the Anglo-Saxon priorities.

Reading for meaning

When you read an article, you can often guess the words you do not know from the context.

Find words or expressions in the above article which have the following meanings:

a. flourishing
b. accept
c. very small
d. purchasing goods shown on television for immediate sale
e. highly fashionable and immediate slogan
f. lavish shopping trip

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