Already the largest city in the country, Spain’s capital city of Madrid continues to grow. With an estimated current population of 3.2 million people, the centrally located metropolis has been steadily growing since the turn of the century, according to census numbers from Spain’s Instituto Nacional de Estadística (National Statistics Institute). Madrid is considered the third most important metropolitan area in Europe, following only London and Paris. Due to its proximity to many commuter towns, Madrid’s metropolitan area is reportedly home to 6.3 million residents, according to CBRE Group (Los Angeles).
Many retailers in the area are tapping into niche markets in order to appeal to new audiences. According to Madrid native Julio Obelleiro, Co-Founder and CEO of New York-based Wildbytes (which also has a location in Madrid), gourmet and organic bakeries are on the rise. He says that adventurous tourists should explore lesser-known neighborhoods like Justicia, which he says is “one to discover, with lots of hidden jewels,” where trendy boutiques and bistros are booming. He notes that there is currently an excess of luxury retail on the market and a lack of thrift-type stores – a market that could potentially be explored by retailers.
The Hot Spots
No matter your style – whether you want to browse upscale designer boutiques or explore traditional shops selling handcrafted goods – Madrid has a neighborhood to fit your shopping spree. The luxury-oriented Salamanca district boasts the likes of Versace, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Cartier – all located on the street Calle de Serrano. The trendy and historically alternative Calle Fuencarral is home to vintage shops, bookstores, emerging designers, tattoo parlors and comic shops alongside popular brands. Foodies can find their fix at Mercado de San Miguel, a renovated historic European Market brimming with small vendor stalls offering fresh produce, meat, cheese, tapas and wine. On the outskirts of Madrid, in the town of Alcorcón, you can experience retail and leisure with a whole new level of interactivity at the brand new immersive shopping mall X-Madrid.
Obstacles and Opportunities
Obstacles retailers may face include the risk factor when trying to expand a new concept. Since the retail market is smaller than in a larger city like New York or London, Obelleiro says it “evolves at a slower pace than that of a larger city.” Shop owners may be hesitant to expand their ideas into untapped territory – even if that’s what customers are looking for. Obelleiro says that shop owners should offer customers the opportunity to spend more time in store by making the space itself appealing beyond the product.
He notes that X-Madrid is “moving in that direction,” offering a concept that is half experience, half retail. He also points to the opportunity for Madrid retailers to combine concepts – selling liquor at a coffee shop or selling baked goods at a clothing boutique, for example.