Consumption leads retail rebound in Shenzhen

Retailers are keen on further expansion in this dynamic and diverse city filled with young talents.

April 04, 2022

JLL Research South China has been continuously tracking Shenzhen’s prime retail market. Recently, we gathered the statistics of all leasing transactions recorded in 65 prime shopping malls citywide during the past three years and analysed the data. What we found is that the consumption power of Shenzhen residents has been rising strongly, resulting in a surge in leasing transaction volumes in 2021.

Figure 1: Number of leasing transactions in Shenzhen’s retail market

Source: JLL Research
Note: Transactions are recorded from prime shopping malls and do not include leases in new projects upon completion

Analysis of fundamentals
  • Offline consumption remains largely stable despite sporadic Covid-19 outbreaks
  • Consumption upgrade becomes the mainstream
  • Luxury brands accelerate their expansion plan in Shenzhen to satisfy the rising burgeoning demand
  • Due to stiff competition among projects, some landlords have started the renovation and upgrade
As the fundamentals of catering recovered rapidly, the infusion of capital boosted the growth of franchises.

The transaction volume of Food & Beverage (F&B) in 2021 increased by 82% and 24%, compared with 2019 and 2020, respectively. Supported by the capital infusion, some segments gained momentum to expand aggressively.

Figure 2: Number of leasing transactions in Shenzhen’s retail market – F&B

Source: JLL Research

Tea, coffee & drinks

The leasing transaction volume achieved threefold growth in 2021 compared with 2019. More niche brands specialising in original fresh fruit teas have sprung up.

Chinese fast-food

Certain Chinese fast-food chains remained sought-after by investors as they were able to operate at relatively low costs due to their high level of standardisation and efficient supply chain management. The noodle bars and cha chaan tengs (the Hong Kong style cafes) in prime shopping malls have attracted more working professionals nearby to spend.

Chinese regional cuisine

In 2021, the leasing transaction volume of Chinese regional cuisine ranked second in the tea, coffee & drinks segment, reflecting Shenzhen’s diverse and eclectic cuisines.

Luxury and trendy fashion brands spurred the surging leasing transaction volume in the F&A sector.

In 2021, leasing transaction volume in the Fashion & Accessories (F&A) sector, another major occupier category, increased by 55% and 45% compared with 2019 and 2020.

Figure 3: Number of leasing transactions in Shenzhen’s retail market - F&A

Source: JLL Research


Keen on expansion in Shenzhen, 28 luxury brands opened new stores, including more than 10 first stores in South China.

Trendy fashion

A large number of trendy fashion brands, combining traditional beauty rituals and modern Chinese aesthetics, are becoming more popular due to the rising trend of ‘China chic’ styling.

Women’s apparel

Some Chinese F&A companies that are relatively less vulnerable to risks continue to optimise their offline sales channels with a multi-brand matrix strategy.


These results clearly reflect the changes and trends of Shenzhen's retail market, providing vital information for investors, operators and retailers. Shenzhen’s overall consumption has rebounded drastically over the past year. More importantly, the rebound swiftly granted momentum to the recovery and growth of the retail market due to the city’s “multi-centric” layout of retail precincts.

Yet, we should also note that not all projects have benefited from the active overall leasing demand. For example, due to facts such as aged facilities or remote locations, the operating conditions of certain projects remained bleak. Therefore, we suggest that each retail project re-examine its positioning and adjust its tenant mix based on the target customer groups in accordance with the trend of the retail market.