Mapic gathered the European retail real estate industry in Cannes – and showed the industry is alive and kicking, yet transforming

To many, Cannes is synonymous with sun, shopping and celebrities dressed up to the nines during the film festival. However, the French Riviera city is also home to Mapic, the annual international retail real estate trade show. Last November, for the 24th time, Mapic gathered the whole European retail and shopping centre industry to meet, do business and mingle in Cannes for three full days.

Change is the only constant – even in retail

This year Mapic’s key theme was ‘Physical in the age of digital’. The theme nicely reflected the trend of retailers increasingly combining online and offline services, as well as the various digital solutions and innovative technologies influencing the retail real estate industry. The ‘paradigm shift’ and digitalisation in retail will probably be a major topic in Mapic for the years to come as ‘digital native’ millennial shoppers gradually become the major consumer segment in different markets. For example, it is estimated that by 2020, 60% of consumers in Asia will be millennials.

  60% of consumers in Asia are estimated to be millennials by 2020. 

In Mapic 2018 edition, it also became clear that traditional brick-and-mortar retail is not dead. Despite the growing share of online retail, many retailers, such as the British shoe brand Dr Martens, communicated strongly about their extensive expansion plans to open physical stores in new markets. During Mapic, the consensus seemed to be that the convergence of physical and digital retail will probably find new ways during the next decade, and retailers constantly will want to find locations where the customers already are.

Stepping into the new era

The retail industry transformation and shift towards a more service-focused era was a major characteristic of Mapic 2018. This year’s Mapic mirrored many new approaches to retail, and especially highlighted the shopping centre retail mix shifting increasingly towards growing leisure segment, increased food and beverage (F&B) offering as well as new cultural and educational uses of retail properties.

The retail industry transformation and shift towards a more service-focused era was a major characteristic of Mapic 2018.

In fact, when going through the participant list of this year’s Mapic, it is interesting to note that not only were the established global retailers –H&M, Nike, Inditex, Primark and others – present, but increasingly emerging retailers and e-tailers, such as Amazon, Zalando, Chick-fil-A, Wayne’s Coffee and Thai Wok, attended the show. In addition, many leisure operators as well as logistics and retail innovation experts were strongly visible, which shows that the whole retail and shopping centre industry is welcoming fresh players at a rate of knots.

From the development projects and new investments showcased during the event, ‘mixed-use buildings’ –meaning retail combined with housing, offices, hotels, restaurants and even convention and exhibition spaces – seemed to be the major conjunctive factor. In the real estate development projects of the 2020s, the different usages of buildings will be blurred, and the focus will be on providing customers a holistic experience.

Fast track to the Nordic spirit at Citycon booth

Citycon was also present at Mapic and gave the European retailers a taste of the Nordic spirit. Citycon’s stand was built to reflect Nordic vibes with its timeless wooden design. With its slogan ‘Fast track to the Nordic spirit’ and one of the few Nordic shopping centre companies present at Mapic, Citycon aimed at promoting Nordics as an attractive operating environment for retailers with the region’s modern shopping centres and high standard of living, strong purchasing power of Nordic consumers as well as ease of doing business.

Nordic vibes: Open, natural and down to earth. This year's Citycon stand at Mapic stood out from the rest with the extensive use of wood.

Keeping up with the current retail trends

Citycon operates in a changing retail real estate business, and the main purpose of being at Mapic is to attract new retailers and possible tenants from all over Europe to establish themselves in the Nordics. This takes time, making it a long-term business. But at Mapic, Citycon is able to keep in touch with the market and has the possibility to have many meetings at the same time, which would take many weeks if we were to host them back home in the Nordics. It is a great opportunity for us to present new projects and meet new retailers that are interested in establishing themselves in the Nordic countries.

For both landlords and tenants, Mapic is also a great opportunity to explore the competition, and get updates on the latest shopping centre trends. One major goal for Citycon is also to meet with suppliers that offer new concepts that can trigger the consumer searching for experiences, as the leisure factor has been growing year after year. This strengthens Citycon’s strategy to not only offer shopping, but also fun experiences.

Cityscape blog writer Maiju Röysky

Maiju Röysky

Communications Project Manager who believes in good stories and the endless possibilities of digital communications. In her free time a pure alpine-holic who always has her next trip booked.