Real Estate Perspectives

How to invest in retail?

8th May 2023

The Australian retail real estate market has consistently been a desirable asset class, drawing substantial investment interest from institutional and private investors alike. This article offers an extensive overview of the retail asset class, spotlighting essential demand factors, demographic influences, and shifting trends in retail use. Investors can utilise this information to make well-informed decisions in the ever-evolving world of retail real estate.

Asset Class Overview: Retail properties encompass a wide variety of commercial spaces, including shopping centers, strip shops, and standalone stores. These properties can differ in size, format, and tenant mix, affecting their classification and investment potential.

Demand Drivers: Understanding the drivers of demand is crucial for retail investors, impacting occupancy rates, rental income, and the attractiveness of retail spaces. Factors influencing demand in the retail sector encompass consumer spending, population growth, disposable income levels, and consumer preferences.

Demographics: Demographics, particularly the preferences of different generations, significantly influence retail demand. With various age groups having distinct shopping behaviors, retail investors must consider the evolving preferences of millennials, Gen Z, and other segments when selecting retail properties and tenant types.

Changes in Retail Use: The retail landscape is evolving rapidly, driven by e-commerce, technology, and changing consumer habits. Investors need to adapt to these shifts by exploring mixed-use developments, experiential retail concepts, and omnichannel strategies to remain competitive in the retail sector.

Retail Rents and Risks: Retail rents are impacted by factors such as location, foot traffic, tenant quality, and lease terms. While retail leases are typically shorter than office leases, they provide flexibility for rent adjustments and tenant turnover. However, the sector may face challenges during economic downturns, underscoring the importance of diverse tenant mixes and prudent lease structuring.

Predictions for the Retail Sector: The retail sector is undergoing transformation, with opportunities emerging in areas like neighborhood convenience retail, omni-channel experiences, and sustainable retail practices. Investors should remain adaptable and open to innovative approaches to capitalise on the evolving retail landscape.


The Australian retail real estate market continues to be an attractive asset class, characterised by diverse demand drivers, demographic influences, and ever-changing retail dynamics. By staying well-informed about market trends and embracing innovation, investors can position themselves strategically in the dynamic realm of retail real estate.

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