Top Five Retail Cities to Watch In 2020

by | 27 January 2020

The overall globalization of the fashion industry has broadened designer influence and its impact on local economies. For three-quarters of a century, the big four cities — New York, Milan, Paris and London (and their corresponding fashion weeks) — have toed the line for industry’s designers, retailers and consumers. The proliferation of new and innovative retail marketing channels has led to an increase in brand exposure, impacting production and distribution in cities worldwide. In the modern world, fashion influence is no longer limited to one metropolis or prominent voices; it has become a shared inspo among the masses.

Coresight Research recently reported on 30 global markets emerging as worthy retail successors engaging shopping citizens everywhere. Cities like Berlin, well-known for its creative arts and music festivals but also home to hyper-specialist boutiques selling ants, buttons, and if you can believe it, textile plush meats. (Vegetarians need not be alarmed as produce is in on it, too). Or “Keep it Weird” Austin, home to niche boutiques selling cowboy boots to craft sasparilla bitters, boasts one of the strongest retail occupancy rates (95.4%) in the U.S.

We’ve selected five of our favorites from the list and influencing factors as to why we’ll be keeping them on our radar.

DUBAI

Home to the world’s largest shopping center, the 1,600-square-mile oasis, has established itself as the shopping destination of the Middle East. Dubai Mall’s 12 million square feet offers an abundance of luxury retailers, leasing to such brands as Balenciaga, Givenchy, and Harry Winston. Recently visiting Dubai Mall, I can assure you that a one-day visit is not enough, especially with the added entertainment and amenities of their 10 million litre aquarium and underwater zoo; dancing fountain and light show; and cocktails as you wait for valet to retrieve your car. The Dubai Design District is the first of its kind, a creative mixed-use hub for the metropolis featuring up and coming international design talent for fashion and home decor.

MIAMI

According to a report conducted by our team in Miami, more than 3.7 million square feet of retail is under construction in Miami-Dade County, reflecting a strong demand for retail in South Florida. Triple Five Worldwide — the Canadian development firm behind the American Dream mall concept — plans to start construction of American Dream Miami in late 2021, converting five million square feet into a retail theme park, slated to open in 2025.

MOSCOW

Moscow’s retail destinations offer a wide range of fashion products from haute couture to Soviet vintage clothing. Shopping arcade GUM, located next to the Red Square, is home to Russia’s flagship for luxury brands Hermes, Louis Vuitton and, most recently, Burberry. Tsvetnoy Central Market’s luxury department store includes a food hall, fast-fashion brands and beauty and technology products. And then there’s TSUM, the largest department store in Eastern Europe, encompassing more than 75,000 square feet. The first Russian retailer to introduce WeChat Pay to accommodate its Chinese customers, TSUM attracts shoppers across generations with its experiential programs — this winter, a partnership with Vetements revealed the brand’s Star Wars legacy collection on the heels of The Rise of Skywalker release.

SHANGHAI

More than 50% of the world’s retail development is happening in China, and Shanghai is home to 35 million square feet of it. The global financial hub, known as “Paris of the East,” attracts European and U.S.-based retailers, as well as emerging local designers Susan Fang, Ming Ma and 8on8, to its Four Streets and Four Cities shopping zones. In addition to luxurious Huaihai and Nanjing roads, there is Xujiahui Road, a mecca for consumer electronics and gadgets. The area celebrated the new year with the addition of a Cultural and Arts Plaza featuring a photo-worthy light installation to attract a younger generation of shoppers.

TOKYO

An estimated 10 million international visitors are expected to descend upon Japan’s capital for the 2020 Summer Olympics. The city experienced an unprecedented stretch of growth in the last 18 months in preparation for the Olympic Games. According to ULI, Tokyo ranked second for real estate investment prospects in the Asia Pacific region, behind only Singapore. Prime retail corridors include Ginza’s high-end shopping district; Shibuya’s D47 Design Travel Store’s emerging designers; Omotesando Hills with its luxury retailers; and Harajuku, the birthplace of streetwear fashion — sure to be a hit with young international shoppers.

Do you have a pulse on an up and coming retail city? Join the conversation online and follow me on Twitter for regular updates and musings about commercial real estate and the retail industry.

About the author:

Anjee continues to be an insatiable enthusiast of all things retail. She’s a student of culture with a pulse on future shoppers and the fleeting trends constantly changing the retail landscape … driving retailers, landlords and developers crazy!