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New Statistics on Market Share

I just got back from presenting at the Michigan Downtown Conference in Bay City, MI. Robert Gibbs offered some new statistics on the breakdown of Retail Market Share worth passing along.

In 1955 the Central Business Districts of our cities had 90% of the Retail Market Share. Today the CBD’s have 2%.

The breakdown looks like this:

Power Retail Centers (think Wal-Mart plazas) 37%
Regional Shopping Centers (malls) 31%
Internet 9%
Living Centers (the new outdoor mall type places) 7%
Downtown CBD’s 2%

(I am guessing that the other 14% is in small strip malls and stand-alones that are spread out along the highways, rural areas and non-commercial districts of this fine country.)

That is a major shift in shopping habits. His solution for downtowns to reverse this trend is for downtowns to attract more chain retailers. The chains then become anchors that attract shoppers and raise the tide for all the shops. Unfortunately, that is not a reality for most small cities.

Especially after he told us the 50-50-50 rule for attracting chain stores. You have to have two of these three factors:

  • 50,000 people in the trade area (or more)
  • $50,000 average income (or higher)
  • 50,000 cars driving by daily (or more)

How does your community stack up? I am guessing that 95% of the cities in the US were eliminated immediately.

My solution is far simpler and works whether you’re in a bustling metropolis or quaint little town.

To gain back market share you need to be better than you were in marketing, better than you were in over-the-top incredible customer service, and better than you were in turning your customers into evangelists. Do that and the people will come. You don’t need a national chain store to draw you a crowd. Start your own crowd – a crowd of people who love you.


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