Niche retailers are positioned to lead the market in 2018. As retail evolves and becomes more experiential, small retailers focused on a specific demographic segment are emerging and developing loyal customer followings, according to David Sheldon, VP of engagement for Retail Design Collaborative. Simultaneously, we have seen several large brands condense or fall altogether, reasserting the strength of these smaller brands.

Sheldon uses the example of Erewhon, a boutique grocery that focuses on healthy, high-quality food. “The result is that they are not the biggest brand on the planet, but they have an extraordinary brand following,” Sheldon tells “Those are the types of evolutions in brands that we are seeing a lot of right now. What is likely happening is that we are overstored and over-malled. The weak are dying and it is a little bit of Darwinism in retail. The acute North Star-focused, evolved brands are thriving. If you are on that train, it is an incredible ride.”

Retailers have more access to a larger demographic base today, because of the internet and international travel; however, this is a bonus customer rather than a core customer for brands. “A lot of brands are conflicted by their demographic base because the world is more transient now,” says Sheldon. “Anyone that walks into your store could be from Croatia, Paris, Shanghai, Brisbane or New York at any given moment. Brands have really had to pay close attention to who their demographic is. I believe that the best brands are laser focused on the service and product that they are selling to a very specific demographic. The bonus of the global transient population has allowed for an additive of a complimentary customer base for a lot of these brands.”

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 1 free article* every 30 days across the ALM subscription network
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?


© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.

Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.

More from this author

GlobeSt Net Lease Spring 2024Event

This conference brings together the industry's most influential & knowledgeable real estate executives from the net lease sector.

Get More Information


Join GlobeSt

Don't miss crucial news and insights you need to make informed commercial real estate decisions. Join now!

  • Free unlimited access to's trusted and independent team of experts who provide commercial real estate owners, investors, developers, brokers and finance professionals with comprehensive coverage, analysis and best practices necessary to innovate and build business.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and GlobeSt events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join GlobeSt

Copyright © 2024 ALM Global, LLC. All Rights Reserved.