Belgium’s favourite retail destination
Antwerp is a true retail paradise. The country’s retailers have proclaimed it Belgium’s favourite retail destination thanks to its innovative city development and marketing approach. Antwerp offers a unique mix of neighbourhoods, all within walking distance of each other and yet each attracting specific businesses and visitors due to the diversity of shops. From elegant apparel by top fashion houses, trendy boutiques and independent stores to ground-breaking innovative concept stores. The Meir, the city’s busiest shopping street, attracts 11 million shoppers annually.
higher purchasing power
of commercial space
Source: The Retail Factory 2022
core shopping areas
available retail space
Favourite retail destination in Belgium
of European purchasing power within 500 km
busiest shopping streets in Europe
A bustling, retail-based economy
Driver of the city’s economy
Like fashion, retail is a driver of Antwerp’s economy, inspiring crossover projects with various other creative industries. Antwerp is an experimental hothouse for fashion designers, retailers and entrepreneurs within spheres such as production, photography, ﬁlm, music, art galleries and costume design, many of whom use the city as a launchpad for their international operations.
High purchasing potential
The atmosphere in Antwerp is one of enjoyment and relaxation, attracting visitors of all ages who are happy to spend their money on fine dining, shopping, an afternoon or a weekend of culture and fun. The quality of life is high, and this is evident to every visitor. The major international companies located in and around Antwerp also attract a steady stream of international workers. Affluent expats love all the comforts offered by the city. They feel at home in Antwerp.
Retail is integral to Antwerp. Trade is a crucial part of the city’s rich history and has helped to shape its streets and magnificent buildings. Antwerp is not stuck in the past, however. Growth is also embedded in the city's DNA. The areas in and around the city centre are ever-changing and have made Antwerp a magnet for innovation and creativity. This is where trends start, entrepreneurs launch new ideas and shoppers come to discover the latest fads. The city offers up its space, allows itself to be moulded and embraces it all.
Commercial space in one of Antwerp’s main shopping districts… How much does that cost?
Nine distinct shopping areas
To make it easier to find the right location for your business, Antwerp’s tourist centre is divided into nine distinct shopping areas in consultation with the sector. These areas each have their own assets, atmosphere and individuality, are within walking distance of each other and attract specific types of businesses and visitors. Where one area features mainstream retail and hospitality options, another offers more unique, innovative concepts.
The fashion district is concentrated on and around Kammenstraat and Nationalestraat. High-end labels can be found on Schuttershofstraat. The Meir is the city’s main shopping boulevard, with many national and international brands, while the historic centre contains smaller boutiques and concept stores. De Wilde Zee is home to charming specialist shops and Kloosterstraat is a favoured location for contemporary fashion and sustainable concept shops, as well as plenty of antique shops. Eilandje is popular for its culinary hotspots, Botanique is known as an area with many specialist and antique shops and Het Zuid houses exclusive interior design businesses.
Interested? Read on to explore all these districts and additional areas outside the city centre. Discover each area’s specific strengths, ambiance and individuality. We will guide you toward the district best suited to allow your business to thrive.
CASE 1 - SMART RETAIL
A European-funded smart retail area project introduced twelve digital innovation pilots, both in-store and in public spaces. Themes include robots, smart labels and interactive displays. The project supports the city’s transition towards the new experience shopping, in which online and offline offerings are closely linked, and also strengthens retailers’ competitive position.
CASE 2 - FUTURE OF SHOPPING
RetailDetail’s retail hub is the largest retail knowledge and inspiration centre in the Benelux and is located at the top of the famous Stadsfeestzaal in Antwerp’s main shopping district. Visitors experience the future of shopping and learn about various new digital technologies. The hub is a source of inspiration for retailers, encouraging them to innovate.
More data: people counting
Since 2016, the city of Antwerp has used footfall counting technology. This technology relies on signals emitted by mobile phones and other electronic devices as these search for Wi-Fi networks. 36 Wi-Fi sensors are currently active in the city centre, providing insight into foot traffic at these locations.
Calibration cameras correct the counts generated by the Wi-Fi sensors. This calibrated data offers the city and its entrepreneurs a more accurate understanding of how crowds move through the shopping streets and the effects of sales, monthly shopping Sundays and various events in the city centre. The data also helps the city to measure the impact of visitors on mobility and safety.