Saturday, August 15, 2015

Experience Replacing Consumption?

That is what the New York Times concluded in light of anemic gains in U.S. retail spending. 

 It’s becoming more and more about the experience — whether it’s going to a festival or sharing a car ride or going to a new city,” said Richard E. Jaffe, a retailing analyst at Stifel Nicolaus, the investment firm.

“The religion of consumption has proven to be unfulfilling,” he said. “The ‘pile it high and watch it fly’ mentality at department stores no longer works.”

If experience outdoes consumption the trend should do well for cities like Baltimore where shopping hasn't been an attraction for decades but experience is. The Aquarium and the Science Center, water taxis and Fort McHenry, Pirate boats and the bars of Fells Point are all selling experiences. 

That is why some of the recent trends of Ricky tacky retail at the Inner Harbor are so alarming. There is no experience, no adventure and no authenticity in them. 

For those to whom all of Baltimore is just too much of an adventure, we have a potential there we can still tap. 

Klaus Philipsen, FAIA

New York Times:

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