Research article

Motivation and reason for visit

Outlets accommodate a variety of consumer needs

Motivation of visit

Gone are the days when an outlet centres’ offer was one-dimensional. The range of goods and experiences means that outlets provide different purposes for different visitors. Realm has identified four consumer profiles in terms of reasons for visitation:

Cherry Pickers

Those who have been drawn to specific stores (often just one or two). Over time this has increased slightly and these shoppers are often from more affluent groups. They are not the most frequent or loyal shoppers but they do have high average spends.

Day Trippers

Shoppers intent on a more thorough expedition type, visiting for in excess of three hours. These are closest to the original outlet shoppers when the concept was imported from America. Spending is often high but frequency has its limits and this group has remained pretty stable depending upon reach of marketing and targeted efforts to attract specific areas within the extended catchment.

Proximity Shoppers

People who now shop at an outlet just because it is convenient and the fact that it is an outlet is actually of little consequence. This group increased in line with frequency of visit four years ago, but has now tailed off slightly.

Value Shoppers

This is now a major source of the increased visitors to outlets as the shift in shopping habits in the grocery sector is now mirrored for consumer goods. They may not necessarily go as far as to describe themselves as typical outlet shoppers but they are keen on brands and are interested in being frugal with their spending.

This could mean taking advantage of the increased price promotion in the full price sector, or dipping into the outlets every now and again. This group is a growth area and often contains younger families who may not have been brought up with the concept of outlet shopping when they were younger, but it has now become relevant to their lifestyles.

Hierarchy of needs whilst visiting

Realm have gained valuable insights into the reasons people visit their centres by undertaking frequent exit surveys on their assets.

Outlet shoppers put environment above retail mix, though there are signs that demand for fashion and footwear is increasing. Yet the two factors are closely linked in meeting consumer need. Realm indicate that it is almost as though non-shopping reasons are responsible for attracting people but brands and discounts are responsible for keeping them interested.

However, 48% of visitors are drawn for a specific store; akin to a destination visit. The opportunity to browse motivates the visitation of 52% of outlet shoppers, which highlights the leisure/non-essential purpose of the visit.

Additionally, 42% of shoppers eat at an outlet centre, demonstrating the importance of a mixed proposition and the leisure orientated retail trip.

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Simon Smith

Simon Smith

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Research & Consultancy

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