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Retail redefined

A few months ago, Global Blue together with consultancy cabinet Roland Berger produced a report on the Millennial Globe Shopper. Below is an extract of the report highlighting a new wave of retail innovations this peculiar generation has started.

Living local

Consumers are more globally minded than ever before, and with increasing levels of international travel and cross-border shopping, a homogenous retail offer is no longer enough to attract millennials to shop abroad.

Consumers are looking for foreign travel to expose them to new experiences, brands and products. Expedia Research found that US, UK and Chinese consumers love travel that offers unique and cultural experiences and this extends to their shopping behaviours. As more brands become available in home markets, it is essential that shopping at destination offers something different – something they can’t get at home.

This is especially vital when millennials are able to access any brand or product at any time, no matter their location. As many as 66% of consumers shop online outside their own country, with 58% doing so each month, according to Pitney Bowes research.

How are global retailers responding?

Thanks to this shift in attitude, led by experience and authenticity-driven millennials, global retailers are offering more localised experiences, while local brands are offering a new form of souvenir to savvy travellers.

Sports brands are leading the way by offering product and experiences tailored to the local area. Reebok’s new Paris store, La Salle de Sport, sells all of its iconic pieces as well as hosting exclusive Paris launches, plus a culture space for art installations and events. Nike is evolving its retail approach from the monolithic Nike Towns, with the addition of the upcoming Unlaced concept. Each location will offer sought-after pieces curated by stylists and creatives local to each store.

Luxury brands have fully understood the value of proposing exclusive products, that allows Globe Shoppers to have first pick of the best, most unique pieces. This includes releasing in their flagship stores their most talked-about products a month earlier than the rest of their global stores, so that travellers can stay ahead of trends. Other luxury brands prefer to create unique products in relation to an event or location. Most often, key pieces from the collection, as well as limited-edition t-shirts or hand-painted bags are created for the occasion.

Remember me

For millennials, souvenirs are not tacky keyrings or T-shirts emblazoned with the name of a city, instead, they’d rather purchases items that remind them of their travels. Regional or national brands are especially appealing for souvenirs, as they allow consumers to subtly show off brands they have “discovered” on their travels. Quintessentially French brands such as Ami and Maison Kitsune, or even branded goods from lifestyle store Merci are proving popular with millennial travellers in Paris.

Danish brand Ganni is playing into the power of Scandinavian style with a series of pop-up souvenir stores after fashion weeks in London, New York and Copenhagen. The product selection offers a chic Danish take on souvenir products such as keyrings as well as clothing and hand-painted ceramics inspired by each city. 

Taste makers

Making stores that are welcoming, memorable and unique is key to capturing millennials’ interest – and their spend. One approach proving popular with food-obsessed millennials is the introduction of foodie spaces into fashion and lifestyle stores.

Following into luxury brands’ footsteps, niche brands are also bringing food into their stores to allow shoppers to fully immerse themselves into their heritage. The new Marais store for beauty retailer Buly 1803 houses skincare and make-up products as well as a café and Japanese bakery, while diners at the café of New York lifestyle store Guild receive a card that details all of the dinnerware and cutlery used in their meal, and where it can be found in store.

Meanwhile, two French icons have come together to create a feast for the senses. Patissier Pierre Hermé and beauty brand L’Occitane have collaborated on a 10,000 sq ft lifestyle store that includes wellbeing products, a terrace restaurant, in-store perfumery, coffee and cocktail bar and macaron bar.


While millennials are driving much of this shift, their demands for convenience, exclusivity, excitement and sensory experiences are resonating with consumers across the entire age spectrum.

To help retailers meet these needs and gain Globe Shopper loyalty, Global Blue is continuously developing innovative digital solutions and in-store solutions. The SHOP TAX FREE app for example, helps Globe Shoppers auto-fill their tax free forms and track their refunds status. It indicates the closest store of their favourite brand and helps them to find the most convenient refund locations in the city they are in.

In parallel, Global Blue is expanding its European network of luxury lounges with new locations in Paris and London. These refund lounges deliver a personalised and memorable shopping experience to the most affluent Globe Shoppers.