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Brought to you by Retail Insider and K3 Retail

If I told you that luxury house builders are beginning to reduce the size of the rooms in some of their latest developments in London you might think so what? But this move is indicative of the change in the way a growing number of people are living and as a result retailers should take note because it will have an increasing impact on their businesses.

Take property company Northacre, it is developing the New Scotland Yard site in the capital and has just announced it is to increase the number of apartments from 268 to 295 as it changes some of the planned larger three-bedroom flats into one and two-bedroom properties. It is a similar story at the enormous Battersea Power Station site where 409 homes are to be added to the original planned number of 3,444.

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Battersea Park development

This trend coincides with research from Made.com that found the average one-bedroom home in the UK is now 4 sq m less than the recommended minimum. This is all driving a change in the way people live – particularly in cities where space is at a premium.

The Made.com research also reveals that 27% of people have less bedroom space as an adult than they had as a child – this reaches a hefty 50% for the 18-25-year-old age range – and that 23% continue to store possessions at their parents’ homes.

As a seller of home wares and furniture Made.com has clearly recognised that these changes are inevitably prompting a shift in consumption patterns that will affect the goods that people purchase for their homes.

But don’t think it is just about purchasing fewer items because it is just as much about people seeking out space-saving goods. IKEA has been experimenting with developing its ranges to fit into smaller living spaces and Made.com has been selling more items with reduced footprints. It recently ran a competition for new designers to create space-saving, multi-tasking furniture for the new way that a growing numbers of people are living.

It is clear that as space becomes ever more valuable in urban locations there will be different demands on retailers in terms of the products they sell to these consumers. What might also emerge is a trend for more time being spent out of the home by those individuals who are most constrained by space at home and for the growing numbers of people who are forced into sharing accommodation. This clearly represents an opportunity for those retailers offering in-store services such as cafes and restaurants.

The reality is that the changing way that people are now living is going to have a significant impact on many retailers who should at the very least be investigating these broad shifts in the marketplace.

Glynn Davis, editor of Retail Insider

K3 Retail deliver multi-channel solutions that enable retailers to create joined up shopping experiences for their customers whether they choose to buy on-line, direct, in-store or via mobile. It has over 20 years’ experience delivering award winning solutions, to more than 175 internationally recognised retail brands.