The term digital nomad is not new. Yet, their rising presence is crucial if we are to understand the consumer landscape in years to come. By 2025, 75% of the population will be freelancing.
At the start of the year, The Financial Times accorded that WeWork has become central London’s biggest office occupier. In other UK locations, flexible working spaces has grown from 2% in 2016 to 7.5% in 2017.
In global markets, more than a quarter of Australians are working remotely. Nearly 4 million of Americans are freelancers. With the freedom of working from anywhere, comes the capacity to travel. As air travel has become cheaper, tourist arrivals in destinations has doubled to 1.2 billion in 2016, up from 674 million in 2000.
By consequence, consumers are becoming increasingly borderless. According to Stylus, 51% of people identify as global citizens. In Asia, 71% of people in China and 67% of people in India identify as global citizens.
With this increase in travel, incentives to attract remote workers are manifesting. Take Thailand, for instance, who approved a smart visa at the start of the year in order to draw new business, startups and entrepreneurs.
Millennials, said to be pioneers of the gig economy, are driving growth of flexible working. With this said, innovation agency Stylus shared insights from the 2018 global Deloitte Millennial Survey. Only 28% of millennials wish to stay with their company beyond five years. 50% will leave their employer within the next two years.By stark contrast, 68% of this consumer group would be interested in working for a company
that offers the ability to work remotely.
With this consumer shift in identity, desire to travel, change of attitude towards working style and employee loyalty that is at all time low, retail must cater to flexibility.
Retail must enter the world of working spaces, design with community and collaboration in mind.
A recent example of retail embodying a community space is
Hershesons. The beauty brand opened a flagship in Fitzrovia, London. whereby consumers can work, get a treatment and socialise at the same time. The idea is that time spent in store caters to consumer need. In short, the space resonates with the fluidity of lifestyles now.
How can your brand prepare for the workplace revolution? What part of your retail experience caters to a society increasingly defined by remote-working and freelancing.
Design with collaboration and community in mind. How can your retail experience become an all-in-one destination?