flexiblefullpage -
billboard - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
catfish1 - bottom
Currently Reading

Retail design trends: Consumers are looking for wellness in where they shop

Retail Centers

Retail design trends: Consumers are looking for wellness in where they shop

A new survey by architecture firm MG2 shows that retail stores are catering to three distinct customer personas, each defining personal wellness differently. 


By John Caulfield, Senior Editor | April 4, 2024
Photo by Craig Lovelidge on Unsplash - Retail design trends: Consumers are looking for wellness in where they shop

Photo by Craig Lovelidge on Unsplash

Consumers are making lifestyle choices with wellness in mind, which ignites in them a feeling of purpose and a sense of motivation.

That’s the conclusion that the architecture and design firm MG2 draws from a survey of 1,182 U.S. adult consumers the firm conducted last December about their seeking healthier shopping experiences. (Download the full report.)

Nearly half of the respondents said they were aware of the effects that displays which communicate “wellness” have on their minds and bodies. About three in five respondents agreed that sounds generated by physical events—like waves or rain—coupled with natural light can establish a sense of calm. And about the same ratio preferred shopping environments with activity spaces, such as meditation or exercise rooms.

MG2’s report delineates the survey’s respondents by age, location (i.e., suburban, urban, or rural), gender, and household income. The report also groups the respondents into three categories:

  • Pathfinders, who like to find, learn about, or develop wellness practices that will fit their lifestyles. Pathfinders accounted for 42% of respondents;
  • Escapists, who look for relaxing or centering wellness outlets. This group represented 35% of respondents; and
  • Ritualistics, who are committed to wellness routines that address their mental well-being on a scheduled basis.


For many, wellness in retail design equates to calm

The survey elicited responses that accentuated the range of meaning that “wellness” now encompasses. For example, 54% identified physical exercise, like running or yoga, as a wellness practice that enhances mindfulness. When it comes to enhancing emotional wellness, 48% of the survey’s respondents cited personal spaces for meditation or relaxation.

Indeed, “healing,” “tranquility,” and “re-energizing” were the top three themes cited for brands to emphasize in a consumer-focused wellness experience.

When taking a wellness-driven journey, Pathfinders prefer predetermined routes, as do consumers within the 27-43 and 43-49 age groups, whereas Escapists want to determine their own paths. (Ritualistics split down the middle.) All but the Baby Boomer cohort prefer visual messaging cues that help them navigate a wellness journey.

Source: MG2
Source: MG2
Source: MG2

Knowledge about a product or service’s wellness characteristics and its effects on a consumer’s body and mind was deemed important information sought by the greatest percentage of respondents. It’s worth noting, too, that more than one-third of Generation Z consumers wants to know how a product will factor into their daily routines. “Brands and retailers have the ability to establish greater trust with their consumer audience by communicating these details, providing a deeper sense of confidence when deciding to invest in a product or service in support of their wellness journey,” the report states.

Sound, smell, and sight were identified by respondents as the three top integrated in-store senses for memorable experiences. And among the myriad “sensory scapes” that a shopping environment can present, sounds generated by physical events combined with natural light were the mostly likely to add a sense of calm for consumers, followed by ecological scenes and sounds that simulate native landscapes. 

Synchronized music and lighting, on the other hand, ranked highest among the sensory scapes that would best add a sense of stimulation within consumers.

Lighting and tech can boost a retail store’s wellness ambience

“You can’t put a price tag on what delivers health and happiness,” says the report, which found that 85% of respondents differentiate wellness-driven retail experiences from conventional shopping. 

For Ritualistics, what separates one from the other is how the experience enhances their daily lives. Escapists said it’s an experience that supports their emotional needs. And Pathfinders find wellness in shopping experiences that correspond with their everyday routines. (Boomers were the group least-inclined to see any difference between wellness-driven and traditional shopping.)

Lighting can be a significant factor in how consumers relate to a shopping environment. Nearly half of respondents to MG2’s survey said that dimmed lighting which soothes and provides a sense of leisure best contributes to a feeling of wellness, followed by lighting that mimics the patterns of natural light during the day. (Intriguingly, two out of five respondents with household incomes of $200,000 or more find bright light that energizes to be a contributing factor for wellness in stores.)

Shoppers say that retail venues with spaces for activities like exercise or meditation convey a sense of wellness. Shoppers are looking for calm, be it a garden or spa. Source: MG2

 

Fifty-five percent of respondents—and 66% of Boomers—cited activity spaces such as those carved out for meditation or exercise as the integrations they most desired in wellness-driven environments. A garden or forest was overwhelmingly preferred among aesthetics within shopping environments that would be most impactful in driving a feeling of wellness in consumers, followed by a retreat or spa.

MG2 posited that technology can be an “innovative and highly experiential” way to drive consumer education and engagement within the wellness space. More than one-third of Gen Z respondents thought that virtual reality can complement a wellness-driven consumer experience, while the highest percentage of Millennials and Gen X respondents (especially those who are female) singled out chromotherapy tech that uses light for physical and mental healing. Forty percent of Boomers saw wellness benefits in interactive wall and window displays that help them explore products and services.

Related Stories

Urban Planning | May 28, 2024

‘Flowing’ design emphasizes interaction at Bellevue, Wash., development

The three-tower 1,030,000-sf office and retail development designed by Graphite Design Group in collaboration with Compton Design Office for Vulcan Real Estate is attracting some of the world’s largest names in tech and hospitality. 

Mixed-Use | May 22, 2024

Multifamily properties above ground-floor grocers continue to see positive rental premiums

Optimizing land usage is becoming an even bigger priority for developers. In some city centers, many large grocery stores sprawl across valuable land.

Retail Centers | May 3, 2024

Outside Las Vegas, two unused office buildings will be turned into an open-air retail development

In Henderson, Nev., a city roughly 15 miles southeast of Las Vegas, 100,000 sf of unused office space will be turned into an open-air retail development called The Cliff. The $30 million adaptive reuse development will convert the site’s two office buildings into a destination for retail stores, chef-driven restaurants, and community entertainment.

Mixed-Use | Apr 23, 2024

A sports entertainment district is approved for downtown Orlando

This $500 million mixed-use development will take up nearly nine blocks.

Mixed-Use | Apr 9, 2024

A surging master-planned community in Utah gets its own entertainment district

Since its construction began two decades ago, Daybreak, the 4,100-acre master-planned community in South Jordan, Utah, has been a catalyst and model for regional growth. The latest addition is a 200-acre mixed-use entertainment district that will serve as a walkable and bikeable neighborhood within the community, anchored by a minor-league baseball park and a cinema/entertainment complex.

Mixed-Use | Apr 4, 2024

Sustainable mixed-use districts: Crafting urban communities

As a part of the revitalization of a Seattle neighborhood, Graphite Design Group designed a sustainable mixed-use community that exemplifies resource conversation, transportation synergies, and long-term flexibility.

Construction Costs | Mar 15, 2024

Retail center construction costs for 2024

Data from Gordian shows the most recent costs per square foot for restaurants, social clubs, one-story department stores, retail stores and movie theaters in select cities.

Shopping Centers | Mar 7, 2024

How shopping centers can foster strong community connections

In today's retail landscape, shopping centers are evolving beyond mere shopping destinations to become vibrant hubs of community life. Here are three strategies from Nadel Architecture + Planning for creating strong local connections. 

Shopping Centers | Feb 6, 2024

The future of grocery store design: It may be time for the checkout aisle to check out

For grocers, the checkout aisle is one of the greatest sources of customer complaints and shrink, which directly affects their bottom line.

Giants 400 | Feb 5, 2024

Top 40 Entertainment Center, Cineplex, and Theme Park Engineering Firms for 2023

Kimley-Horn, EXP, BRPH Companies, and Alfa Tech Consulting Engineers top BD+C's ranking of the nation's largest entertainment center, cineplex, and theme park engineering and engineering/architecture (EA) firms for 2023, as reported in the 2023 Giants 400 Report.

boombox1 - default
boombox2 -
native1 -

More In Category




halfpage1 -

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021