So Doorstep Living is a term we’ve been seeing a lot on LinkedIn and it refers to people now shopping and socialising where they live, rather than where they work – everything is on their doorstep. It’s obviously been accelerated by a large percentage of the population now working from home due to the Covid lockdowns, which in turn has raised the importance and value of local communities. As a result of this, the spotlight is now on community centres in the hearts of cities and towns, rather than large regional or destination schemes. This has also raised profiles and the success of 15 minute cities, where everything you need can be reached in 15 minutes.
On the flip side with fewer people coming in to big cities and towns to work and shop, that leaves big spaces in areas that were once characterised by bustling offices and shops.
I have to think back to December 2019 when I last visited a regional centre for my shopping experience. But I only have to think back to last Saturday when I went to my local town to pick up a pre-ordered takeaway and essentials from an out of town retail park. I’ve also found myself supporting local and craving new experiences – cue walking across the Suffolk countryside to our local farmers market and artisan bakery on Saturday mornings in the next village!
But is people working where they live the only factor affecting the Doorstep Living shift? Convenience – we know people want things quicker, they can get things quicker by popping to their local shops, but as restrictions are lifted and people can travel, will we still see this? And we are well aware that you can get things quickly by ordering online and getting next day delivery from Amazon, but surely this novelty will wear off soon?
Shop local – the rise and popularity of shopping local has been accelerated as people rally to keep their high streets, shopping centres and small businesses alive. Is this movement here to stay? Will schemes with independent traders benefit most?
Experience – we’ve noticed, especially with our open air schemes, that people are still drawn to these locations, despite the majority of tenants being closed during Lockdown 3. Is this indicating the want and need for experience – or just their daily walk?!
Thinking positively, when we are released like butterflies from our cocoons (aka Lockdown 3), consumers have been saving money, they are bored and they are desperate to escape their own 4 walls and enjoy experiences in (hopefully) a safe manner – do you think local and community schemes will continue to benefit? 100% yes!
Addressing a negative; with the likes of Debenhams and Topshop disappearing from our high streets, will vacant units and online shopping impact local community shopping? We see it as a chance to reshape these locations for the future to meet consumer wants and needs. Physical and online shopping will learn to live together.
Written by Chloe Keith