Disney Pixar pop-up store at a Hong Kong mall. Photo: Alamy

Pop-up stores are not only the answer to shopping malls striving to meet ever-changing customer demands, but they are also for new retailers to test the water without having to pay exorbitant rents as the retail market recovers from a three-year decline, say operators and analysts.

“Local consumption demand is growing, but it’s mainly focused on lifestyle, health, food and beverage sectors, which require smaller size retail shops. A popular format we see around shopping centres is pop-up shops,” said Nigel Smith, managing director at Colliers International Hong Kong.

The real estate service company said major shopping malls had shifted their expansion focus from traditional luxury labels to lifestyle, food and beverage (F&B) and premium accessory brands that target affluent millennials.

Local consumption demand is growing, but it’s mainly focused on lifestyle, health, food and beverage sectors, which require smaller size retail shops

“Demand from customers is different now. Instead of just the buy and pay, we see local shoppers wanting the experience,” said Fiona Shiu, deputy director of Hong Kong retail at Swire Properties.

“Wellness and happiness is the new trend reflected in consumption patterns. For example, a typical shopping day for a group of people or family always includes a tea or dessert break.”

F&B retailers, which accounted for half of all new retail entrants into the market in the first quarter of 2018, are expected to remain active throughout the year, according to CBRE.

Pop-up stores that bring in new menus, such…