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£2.3bn pop-up shop economy a permanent feature of retail industry

Pop-up shops have been identified as one of the largest areas for growth in the UK retail landscape and are expected to remain part of the industry for years to come, research shows.

Dr Charlotte Shi

Research by Dr Charlotte Shi, a lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, has found that pop-up shops are becoming important to big brands while also serving as an entry platform for market newcomers.

A report on Britain’s pop-up retail economy by the Centre for Economics and Business Research has estimated that pop-up retailing contributes £2.3 billion to the UK economy a year.

Dr Shi, who lectures in fashion marketing and branding at the School of Art & Design, said: “Pop-ups are at the forefront of today’s retail innovation and are being used by emerging and established brands alike to create new and innovative shopping experiences.

“It's suggested that many successful pop-up ventures transition into established retailers, and that a growth for the pop-up retail sector has been a catalyst for the regeneration of urban retail areas.

“Pop-up shops provide customers with a more approachable access to luxury brands and create different shopping experiences, like elements of surprise and novelty in holiday-themed temporary environments.

“Louis Vuitton, Burberry and more appear to be strategically using pop-ups as part of their integrated marketing strategies. They understand that modern and younger consumers want to enjoy experiences and are looking at pop-ups to stimulate them. We still shop in the high street, but our perception shopping offline is changing.”

Pop-up shops – believed to have started in Los Angeles in the 1990s - are a temporary retail-orientated setting or territory designed to foster a direct customer/brand interaction for a limited period.

The most recent data available shows that there were more than 10,500 pop-up shops in the UK, employing more than 26,000 people.

Dr Shi added: “Pop-up shops have given retailers the opportunity to interact with customers, express the inspiration behind their collections and tell the story behind their products.

“Moreover, the extensive use of social media by brands around pop-up activity has served as an additional form of experiential marketing and created ongoing communities of interest.

“After starting in the UK in food and fashion industry, we expect pop-up shops will start to spread to other sectors. It's a clear area for growth and more businesses are recognising the potential of pop-ups.”

Dr Shi is set to present her findings at the Academy of Marketing conference from 3 to 6 July, at Hull University Business School, in Hull, UK.

  • Notes for editors

    • Nottingham Trent University (NTU) has been awarded the highest, gold, rating in the Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework for its outstanding teaching and learning
    • NTU is one of the largest UK universities with nearly 28,000 students and more than 3,500 staff across four campuses, contributing £496m to the UK economy every year. It is one of the most environmentally-friendly universities, containing some of the country’s most inspiring and efficient award-winning buildings
    • The University is passionate about creating opportunities and its extensive outreach programme is designed to enable Nottingham Trent to be a vehicle for social mobility. NTU is the sixth biggest recruiter of students from disadvantaged backgrounds in the country and 95.6% of the its graduates go on to employment or further education within six months of leaving
    • NTU is home to world-class research, winning The Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2015 - the highest national honour for a UK university. It recognised the University’s pioneering projects to improve weapons and explosives detection in luggage, enable safer production of powdered infant formula and combat food fraud
    • With an international student population of approximately 2,600 from around 100 countries, the University prides itself on its global outlook

£2.3bn pop-up shop economy a permanent feature of retail industry

Published on 29 June 2017
  • Category: Press office; School of Art & Design

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