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In the first survey of its kind, CBRE polled more than 20,000 people worldwide earlier this year—from baby boomers to Gen Zers—to determine how they will live, work and shop in the future, and how this will impact the real estate they use.
CBRE identified four overarching themes we believe will significantly influence how consumers live, work and shop. These conclusions have far-reaching consequences for real estate occupiers and investors.
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Quality of Life
Quality of life now carries far more weight in decision-making.
Whereas financial factors and so-called “conspicuous consumption” used to motivate consumer choices, people are now actively making choices that they believe will enhance their wellbeing.
On the work front, an overwhelming majority of people are attaching greater importance to the quality of their working environment and related criteria such as flexibility, location, space design, technology, services/amenities and health/wellness.
Regarding how we live, this is manifesting in consumers’ desire to seek higher quality properties offering better facilities and surroundings, which has replaced affordability and the desire to save money as the strongest reasons to move. However, the current economic climate may temper this appetite.
Shoppers are also placing a stronger emphasis on the quality of their shopping destination. After the product, the next most common reason for visiting a store is the level of service received and the overall experience.
As in the world of real estate, location remains central to consumer decisions and continues to dictate where they choose to live, work and shop.
Next to salary, commute time to work was named as most important factor when considering a new job, which again is driving a preference for properties in prime central areas.
Despite a drift to the suburbs in some markets, a substantial proportion of respondents who plan to move their home stated a preference to live in more centralized areas. With such demand strongest among younger generations, new housing in downtown areas should be developed with these users in mind.
Location is also heavily influencing purchasing behavior, with consumers demonstrating a strong preference to shop at physical stores for most products, underlining the continued relevance of brick-and-mortar retail.
Partly due to a pandemic-driven increase in health and safety concerns, ESG and wellness are wielding a far stronger influence on consumer behavior than ever before.
Environmental concerns are becoming more prominent in the workplace, reflected by respondents’ belief that features such as natural light and better air quality make offices more attractive places to visit—findings that have implications for companies continuing to struggle with luring staff back to the office.
The health and safety aspects of property management, particularly in apartment buildings, are now second only to pricing in terms of importance. Properties possessing these attributes likely will outperform.
ESG issues are also becoming manifest in the world of shopping, where consumers are now far more aware of key environmental and social concerns and are responding by changing their purchasing habits, such as by showing loyalty to locally-sourced products and brands.
The growing adoption of hybrid working will influence where people choose to work and live.
With most office-based workers having embraced hybrid working, flexibility over when and where to work is becoming much more important both when choosing a job and when rating their satisfaction in various areas of work experience and working environment. Companies that do not offer such arrangements may find it harder to attract talent.
The impacts of hybrid working are being felt in the home, where most hybrid workers already have a dedicated workspace and a majority regard having a dedicated space for working as a more important home-selection criteria than pricing. Developers of residential property will need to respond accordingly.
Interactive Data Dashboard
Explore the data behind the survey. With our interactive Data Dashboard, you can compare global results against those of your own geographic region, market and age group. Uncover the insights most relevant for your business.
The Global Live-Work-Shop Report Data Dashboard
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Richard Barkham, Ph.D.
Global Chief Economist, Head of Global Research & Head of Americas Research
Henry Chin, Ph.D.
Global Head of Investor Thought Leadership & Head of Research, Asia Pacific
Senior Vice President, Global Head of Occupier Thought Leadership & Research Consulting
Global Head of Data Intelligence & Head of Continental Europe Research and Data Intelligence
Ada Choi, CFA
Head of Occupier Research & Head of Data Intelligence and Management, Research, Asia Pacific
Americas Head of Multifamily Research, CBRE