As the consumer, retail and development boom goes on across most of Asia, it is an exciting time for the shopping centre development industry throughout Asia, said Michael P. Kercheval, President & CEO of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).
Addressing delegates at RECon Asia 2014 – the global real estate convention of Asia, Kercheval said annual investment volumes of retail property are expected to rise to US$160-180 billion by 2020 and Asia Pacific is expected to account for a growing share of the investment activity.
Citing research by JLL, he said the industry anticipates a steady rebalancing of this retail investment in favour of the Asia Pacific region. By 2020, the region is expected to account for 26% of the investment activity, compared to 11% in the period from 2004-2006.
Kercheval said RECon Asia 2014 mirrors this growth rate as it is reaches out to the largest gathering of retail real estate professionals in the region. Nearly 500 delegates took part in the two-day conference and exposition at Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre.
Robert Welanetz, ICSC worldwide chairman, said developers are responding to the Asia market opportunity by creating interesting spaces that make people want to go into the shopping centres and stay longer there.
Across Asia, shopping centres are quick to catch up with new trends, one of which is to include food as part of the core offerings. In Asia particularly, people use food areas as part of their social outreach.
“Food is important. It is one of the reasons to have brick and mortar because you can’t eat food off the Internet,” he quipped.
Welanetz said the Internet and social media technologies, rather than being a threat to shopping centres by encouraging more online retailing, present strong advantages to the industry.
Successful shopping destinations are using the 4 C’s of digital marketing: creating, curating, connecting and culture, to draw the shoppers and consumers.
“Convergence is most important. [Those with an] omnichannel strategy are going to be the most successful retailers,” said Welanetz.
Asia Pacific Shopping Centre Awards
The 2014 ICSC Asia Pacific Shopping Centre Awards is one of the highlights of RECon Asia. Through its global awards programmes, the ICSC recognises and honours the shopping centre industry’s most cutting-edge properties, innovative solutions and creative responses to market trends, as well as outstanding examples of design and development.
This year, a total of 185 entries representing 13 Asian countries were selected as finalists for the ICSC Asia Pacific Shopping Centre Awards competition.
Among the winners are Chengdu IFS (International Finance Square), China, which won a gold award in the category for grand opening, expansion and renovation.
Wharf China Estates Limited launched Western China’s first retail, entertainment and culture (REC) shopping mall, in January this year with the unique ‘I’m Here Panda Art Charity Grand Opening’ event.
D-Cube City in Seoul, Korea, received a gold award in the category of new developments.
Formerly a large coal processing plant, D-Cube City sets a new standard in mixed-use transit-oriented development. The new cultural and commercial destination is one of Seoul’s first fully integrated developments of its kind, with a six-level 80,000sqm retail/entertainment/culture complex with a performance hall as its rooftop centrepiece, a 42-storey landmark office/hotel tower, and over six acres of public landscape, parks and plazas. Two adjacent 50-storey residential towers designed by SAMOO Architects & Engineers complete the new urban complex.
In the category of cause-related marketing, Northland Shopping Centre in Preston, Australia, was presented with a gold award for its ‘Quiet Room’ campaign. Northland partnered with Amaze (formerly Autism Victoria) to open Australia’s first shopping centre ‘Quiet Room’ — a sensory space for individuals with autism.
Parents with children on the spectrum find it difficult to visit shopping centres, for fear of their child experiencing sensory overload. The ‘Quiet Room’ offers a space to reduce their anxiety and to access other sensory soothing items to reduce over-stimulation and to offer a positive shopping experience.
For integrated digital campaigns, VivoCity, Singapore, was awarded a gold award for “The Great Singapore Sale 2013 – Catch the VivoCity Codeys” campaign. The experiential and digital campaign featured a family of four giant QR code mascots who when spotted, provided shoppers the opportunity to ‘scan’ them to receive instant reward vouchers.
The Myer Centre, Brisbane, Australia was awarded a gold award for its “Lunchgustation” campaign for the sales promotion competition category. The Lunchgustation, a culinary journey featuring a 10-course dining experience, successfully helped the Myer Centre reposition its refurbished food court as a preferred destination for lunchtime dining. The clever sales campaign engaged Brisbane’s CBD workers, strengthening centre traffic and sales performance.
Jem, a lifestyle hub in the western part of Singapore, was awarded a gold and sustainable design award. Its innovative design used 100% green replacement in the building’s construction as well as an array of energy-saving measures weaved into the architecture and infrastructure.
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