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Pop Up Predictions for 2016

Our list of the trends, technologies and creative movements we believe will impact the sector in the coming year.

From a new definition of luxury, to the end of web search as we know it, 2016 is the year the high street truly becomes plug-and-play like the app store, and creative retail reaches new heights. In this short focus, the team at We Are Pop Up and some special guests pioneering future retail outline the ideas that excite them when looking to the year ahead. The predictions we’ve identified are issues which we expect to affect cities globally and which creative retailers can use to their advantage. We hope you enjoy reading them.

Nicholas Russell


In 2016, the sector reach will be unprecedented

A number of new industries will see that they can use pop ups to reach consumers – from tech, to energy, to government. People will see the power of renting spaces by the day or week, rather than multiple years and a new wave of retail space usage will emerge, from marketing to public health to politics and everything in between.

Nick is the Founder and CEO of We Are Pop Up. Prior to starting the company, he introduced Louis Vuitton to graffiti and hip hop, and helped Unilever dominate an FMCG category within 18 months.

Clara Maguire

Sub-lets become master

As demand increases for fractional use of space, the trend of sharing and subletting space will accelerate. This will challenge traditional leasing structures, and they’ll become shorter, multi-party, and will enable subletting. Master Lease holders looking to maximise value from this new pattern of demand will propel it by creating new leasing structures.

Clara is the COO at We Are Pop Up and is interested in how cities and technology scale entrepreneurship to deliver a more resilient, inclusive economy.

Abigail Freeman


In 2016 luxury will be redefined.

Luxury as we know it will become available to all in a way previously reserved for the ultra-wealthy. From personal fashion-stylists through digital services like to Michelin-starred meals on demand via Deliveroo, or flowers by subscription by Bloomon, the range of luxury services and items available to the masses will be unprecedented. And so a new breed of luxury will emerge, redefined to remain a true “luxury” through beautiful, seamless online and offline services and highly exclusive, ephemeral experiences.

Abi is the Director of Marketing and Partnerships at We Are Pop Up and has worked shaping policy that helps creative businesses start up and grow.

Daniel Peters

Menswear comes into its own

Daniel peters

I’m super passionate about fashion as it is, but I think menswear is evolving and turning into its own beast. Emerging designers will coexist alongside established designers in retail spaces. In my own pop ups I try and give new designers a platform and pair them alongside both new and established brands such as Aquascutum or a brand like Lou Dalton who do runway shows, and these brand remixes will become commonplace. Everyone needs to be mixed together in that way.

Daniel is the Founder and Creative Director of BBS Clothing. His latest pop up was a creative collaboration between his own label and Clarks Shoes.

Bertie Herrtage


Retail communities will overlap

Dominant retailers on the high street will begin to diversify the use of their space to attract more customers and increase dwell time.
Space on the high street is an expensive asset to keep. With more people doing their shopping online, retailers will expand their offering to reinstate themselves as an experience destination.
In-store partnerships will form between different areas of commerce which share the same customer e.g. clothing shops, cafés and bars who can operate from the same site such as the Heals x Forge & Co workspace collaboration in London.
These retailers are re-imagining the use of their space, where outside the hours of their conventional trading may be an opportunity to host something different, i.e. a gallery, event or workshop.

Bertie heads up Space Acquisition at We Are Pop Up.

Lulu Krause


2016 will be about B2We.

Lone brands will form robust collectives and self-curate their retail presence. Power lies in numbers, and as pop ups continue to take the place of traditional retail models, likeminded brands will join forces. Through product innovations like Brand to Brand messaging on We Are Pop Up, designers, artists and retailers will be empowered to strategically co-produce and create cohesive in-store narratives. Through these new collaboration tools, a pop up will be more than a store — it will tell an entire story.

Lulu is the Director of Partnerships for We Are Pop Up NYC.

Peter Jeun Ho Tsang & Julija Bainiaksina, Founders of The Dandy Lab

Dandy portrait

In 2016 tech enabled retail will see the introduction of smart shopping environments across the high street.

Stores will be able to provide the ultimate consumer experience by learning about the individual in real-time, resulting in superior customer service and personalised shopping journeys. By deploying RFID enabled loyalty cards, The Dandy Lab was able to convert 20% of new customers into brand loyal, returning patrons (The Dandy Lab, 2016).

Greg Spielberg

2016 will be the first year that every brand, artist or organisation who wants space can get space.

The topography of our cities are fundamentally different. We’ve moved from closed urban space, available only though five and ten year leases, to open spaces. The shift is as big and beneficial as the movement from the printing press to the blog. Our cities will start to truly reflect the visions, expressions and businesses of its communities rather than just big-budget, corporate stores.

Greg is Managing Director of We Are Pop Up NYC and founder of Imagination in Space, working at the intersection of retail and journalism.

Anna Trotter

2016 will be the year of brand mash-ups and remixes.

Creative businesses, from independent designer-makers to world-famous fashion houses, will pioneer new ways of combining their offers to bring unique inter-brand mash-ups to the high street. No longer just the remit of retail giants like H&M and their hysteria-inducing designer collaborations, projects of all shapes and sizes will join forces to create new retail offerings. We Are Pop Up’s brand to brand messaging tool will sit at the heart of this movement, with infinite possibility. From denim and doughnuts to tea and tech, the future of the hight street will be remixed.

Anna is the Community Manager for We Are Pop Up.

Alastair Moore


Search gets smarter.

2016 will see a breakthrough in search and discovery. Platforms will use intelligent search to predict and even pre-empt users’ needs. Search as we know it will decline to be replaced by personalised recommendations and smart curation.

Alastair is Chairman of We Are Pop Up, a UCL PhD computer scientist with 10 years experience in mobile, web and early stage tech innovation, and believes cities will be plug-and-play like app stores.

Daniel O’Connor


Things get personal.

Retailers will focus on creating a connected retail experience based around the individual shopper. Retail brands will blend online & offline in ways not previously possible to create a seamless and unified shopping experience. In 2016, large retailers will test more and more emerging technologies with the aim of simplifying the shopping experience for consumers whilst enhancing the retailer’s access to offline data. Technology like Cloudtags will become mainstream, and shoppers will embrace beautiful, delightful tech whilst dismissing anything clunky or unintuitive.

Daniel is the Account Manager at We Are Pop Up and speaks to hundreds of creative retailers weekly.

What did we miss? Tell us your 2016 pop-up prediction by tweeting us at @wearepopup using #popuppredict or click here to Tweet.


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