Case Study Archives - Whitespace | Brand Driven Design

Is Social Distancing the ‘New Normal’ for Retail & Hospitality?

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Contagious disease epidemics have come into popular consciousness several times in recent decades, but the covid-19 pandemic is the disaster epidemiologists have been warning of. The rapid devastation of public health and economies will not be soon forgotten– and preparedness for the next wave, or the pandemic of the future should be a part of every strategic business plan.

Just as 9/11 permanently changed global travellers airport experience, the Covid-19 pandemic will likely permanently change the retail and hospitality industries in ways unimaginable just a few months ago. Surely, some businesses will fail, while others discover new, disruptive paths to adapt and thrive.

Retailers with strong e-commerce platforms complementing their physical stores will be much better positioned for success whatever the future may hold. Restaurants and bars with social distancing planned-in– perhaps with smartly segregated, cozy and intimate seating areas will gain loyal customers. Hotels that adopt self check-in/out, app-based access keys, rooms with HEPA air filtration, contactless room service, and finishes allowing housekeeping to truly sanitise rooms for the next guests will win over virus-conscious guests.

With decades of experience in strategic retail and hospitality design consulting– the experts at Whitespace stand ready to help businesses think-through and implement pandemic adaptation strategies and solutions. Not only to get your businesses re-opened from lock-down, but to help you to thrive in an uncertain future. Learn more about our pandemic-adaptation services

The Silver Tsunami: You’re Never Too Old to Go Shopping

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In this modern age, with the rise and availability of premium quality healthcare, coupled with diet-conscious people actively seeking out healthier lifestyles, it’s no wonder that the population of silvers (60 & over), is dramatically on the rise. So much so in fact, that by 2035, people over 60 will account for a third of the world’s population. That’s an awful lot of bad backs! 

But all joking aside, this is an interesting development, as people aged 60 and older will drive more than 45% of consumption growth in North America and nearly 60% in Western Europe, Japan and South Korea over the next 15 years. Thus, you’re never too old to go shopping. Which is precisely why retailers need to start doing their research so that they can better understand the buying habits of the silver tsunami that’s on its way. 

How is this going to affect the modern marketplace? 

Ultimately, it really depends on the industry. We can’t really see this having too much of an effect on the toy industry for example…actually, having said that, with more over 60’s there will invariably be more people with grand-children, and we all know how grandparents like to spoil their little rascals! 

Then of course, you have to consider the age demographic. By 2025, those who were born in the mid-sixties, will be in their 60’s! These silvers will almost certainly be able to keep up with the rise in technology, as many elderly people already are. 

Anyway, that’s enough speculation for now. Let’s take a look at what we know: 

Over 60’s spending characteristics 

  • There are less occupants living in an over 60’s household. The average: 2
  • Generally, over 60’s have a much higher net wealth than younger households
  • The majority of over 60’s in the west are “silver surfers” taking their shopping online
  • Many seniors are now working well into their 60’s
  • In general, they are behind the general population with regards to technology, though they’re certainly playing catch up
  • Whilst over 60’s households spend less on average, this can largely be accounted to the fact that the households’ are smaller, as opposed to silvers spending less money
  • In the west, over 60’s spend more on average per one person 
  • People 75 on overspend a significant amount less on dining out, clothing, and other luxuries; however, they do spend more proportionally on housing basics 

The biggest developments 

Home Delivery: The biggest developments that are taking place with the rise of silvers over 60 is home delivery services via e-commerce websites. In general, more over 60’s have their groceries delivered to their home, whereas millennials and the younger generation spend a significant amount more on food delivery services such as “Just-Eat.” 

So, retailers who aren’t currently focusing all that much on e-commerce and home delivery, should almost certainly start taking steps towards implementing a streamlined services for older consumers to take advantage of. 

Travel & Leisure: Over 60’s and the baby boomer population in general have never been shy about how much they love to travel, nor would they ever be afraid to spend their money. People aged 65-74 out spend the population on average when it comes to travelling and will almost certainly continue to do so. 

As such, you can expect travel and tourism companies to up their game and focus more on the aging market, as there is almost certainly going to be an even higher demand in the years to follow. 

Healthcare: Very soon, over 60’s will account for over 26% percent of the global populations spending on health care services. We will almost certainly experience in a rise in the amount of tech and gadgets being thrown into the mix, with the aim of keeping insurance costs down and reducing the need to visit a doctor so often. For example: wearable tech and Internet-connected service providers. 

And of course, whilst we’re on the subject of health care, it’s important to note the fact that a rise in silvers, means a rise in elderly people in their twilight years in need of regular support. This will invariably put a lot of pressure on governments public and domestic spending, so we can expect to seem some innovations in that regard, in order to accommodate the higher demand. 

We’re less worried about getting older 

And in some cases, we’re looking forward to it. Sure, most people don’t like the idea of growing old too much. However, the thought of having no financial worries, being able to travel around the world as and when you want and being able to enjoy a relatively healthy and active retirement is something that we can all look forward to. The rise in silvers and the average age limit being on the rise is proof that getting older, isn’t quite as scary as it used to be. 


Retailers take heed: the silver tsunami is on its way. The question is, what are you going to do to accommodate it? Are you going to ride the wave and strive to understand the aging consumer in order to tailor your marketing to their needs? Or will you remain rigid in your oppose and be swept away with the tides? The decision is yours! 

Trend Watch: Grocery Stores Increasingly Competing with Restaurants

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Have you heard the term “grocerant” before? If not, you likely will, over the coming months, as more and more grocery stores are becoming hybrids. What this means is that, rather than simply offering produce to their customers, they’re offering prepared meals for the option to dine in or take-away (with a focus on convenience). This of course, is painfully close to the service that restaurants offer, which is why many people in the food and beverage industry are unnerved by this new trend.

OK, so perhaps the “grocerant” hybrid isn’t new. In fact, in places like Portugal, they have restaurants (or Taskinas) which operate as café’s during the day, whilst selling groceries such as local wines, cured meats and even pastries; then in the evening, the fine dining begins. This is something that has been around for many, many years. That said, these establishments are primarily restaurants, and certainly don’t stock enough in the way of groceries to compete with a supermarket.


It’s all about the convenience

The biggest driving force behind this emerging trend is the desire to create more convenience for customers. If a guest can do their weekly shop, whilst stopping for a spot of lunch, then they’re going to kill two birds which one stone. It’s not so dissimilar to the drive-through phenomenon which occurred decades ago. But of course, the numbers are staggering, which is causing many a restaurateur to panic. Clearly, this convenience trend, is not so convenient for them. The smart grocery stores, however, are working hard towards driving more foot-traffic through their stores to counter online grocery delivery, and it’s working!


You can’t beat a decent meal in a fancy restaurant

The important thing to note at this stage though, is that the likelihood of grocery stores replacing the demand for restaurants all together is extremely unlikely. Let’s be realistic! Can you imagine trying to take the wife to dinner at local supermarket on your anniversary? You’d have to have a death wish. The fact is, grocery stores simply do not offer the same environment as a restaurant. Certainly, stopping for a casual lunch won’t hurt, but it’s definitely safe to say that dinner is untouchable. That said, most restaurants rely on the lunch-rush in order to stay afloat. So, the next question is, what is the food and beverage industry going to do about it?

Perhaps we will see a rise in restaurants hosting regular lunch-time events in order to get more customers through their door. It would be unwise to turn a well-established, fine-dining restaurant into a mini-mart combo. However, they could-well benefit from embracing a specialist establishment. For example, a French restaurant that doubles up as a fresh bakery. Perhaps they could offer various bakery courses and sell baking “starter-kits”. There are many ways that restaurants can adopt this approach and it could work wonders with driving more customers through their doors during what would otherwise be a quiet lunch period.


If you won’t come to us, we’ll bring the food to you

Of course, it’s not all doom and gloom for restaurants. In fact, most are fighting back by embracing technology and turning it to their advantage. In what we’re coining “the convenience wars”, restauranteurs are responding by using the likes of UberEats, and the other plethora of food delivery services that have sprung up in recent years. Simply put they’re going to where the money is, rather than expecting the customers to come to them.

In any case, it’s an exciting time for the modern consumer, as things really are getting easier with the rise of technology, and the demand for convenience. I guess all that we can do for now is to sit back and enjoy the ride!