The pandemic changed how consumers shop, and with the development of Amazon HQ2, Alexandria is evolving from a government town to a tech town.
That’s according to a presentation to the Del Ray Business Association this week by Kevin Fenton, founder of The Walla Design Company.
“We’re basically evolving from being known as a government company town to now pivoting to be looked at as a tech, innovative place to set up a business,” Fenton said. “It doesn’t make brick and mortar experiences insignificant. It does, however, mean that your brick and mortar experience needs to be extraordinary in order to maximize the value of the trip that your audience is taking.”
The bottom line, Fenton said, is that local businesses will need to focus their offerings online and create unforgettable experience at their brick and mortars, which will see a reduction in foot traffic in the years to come.
Amazon will start construction in 2022 and open in 2025 in Arlington, and the move will means even more younger consumers making more money living in the area. Millennials already make up 43% of residents in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area, according to the 2019 U.S. Census Community Survey, which Fenton sourced in his report.
Fenton said that online grocery shopping, home nesting and virtual health care will continue to grow in popularity.
“The big takeaway here is that COVID required us as consumers to overnight — I mean quite literally overnight — to reconsider our value systems and our attitudes about consumer safety and self preservation,” he said. “Our spending habits changed very, very quickly. What we were spending our money on also changed.”
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