Cambodia’s retailing industry came under pressure during 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite political stability and the second highest vaccination among ASEAN countries, official COVID control measures and major changes in consumer behaviour in response to COVID-19 led to pressure on sales in many categories.
The adverse economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was felt acutely in Cambodia during 2020 and 2021. Among the economic sectors hardest hit by the adverse impact of the COVID-19 situation is the wider services sector, with hospitality and travel and tourism facing very low levels of demand due to their closure of Cambodia’s borders and the imposition of social distancing regulations, with hotels, consumer food service and transportation all struggling due to the absence of domestic and international tourists.
Cambodian society has been hit particularly hard by the presence of the COVID-19 virus among the population. In addition to the adverse economic impact of the pandemic, including elevated unemployment rates and significant pressure on household incomes, the pandemic has interrupted daily life in the country.
With demand for e-commerce spiking dramatically in Cambodia towards the end of the review period, the government was motivated to revise its online business registration system during 2021. The purpose of the changes is to make the online business registration process faster and easier.
Informal retailing is very common in Cambodia and the number of informal retailers vastly exceeds the number of formal retailing enterprises. Most informal enterprises are essentially unregistered individuals or families that operate as traditional grocery retailers.
With the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic expected to diminish substantially during 2022, the Cambodian government plans to completely reopen the country’s society and economy at some point during the year. One of the most important developments is expected to be the reopening of Cambodia’s borders to foreign tourists while the lifting of social distancing restrictions is also likely to support a stronger performance for the retailing market.
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Sales of new and used goods to the general public for personal or household consumption. Excludes specialist retailers of motor vehicles, motorcycles, vehicle parts, fuel. Also excludes foodservice, rental and hire and wholesale industries (Cash and Carry). Sales value excluding or including VAT/Sales Tax. Retailing is the aggregation of Store-based retailing and Non-store retailing. Retailing excludes the informal retail sector. Informal retailing is retail trade which is not declared to the tax authorities. Informal retailing encompasses (a) sales generated by unregistered and unlicensed retailers, ie retailers operating illegally, and (b) any proportion of sales generated by a registered and licensed retailer which is not declared to the tax authorities. Unregistered and unlicensed retailers operate predominantly (although not exclusively) as street hawkers or operate open market stalls, as these channels are harder for the authorities to monitor than permanent outlets. Activities in the illegal market, which is usually understood to refer to trade in illegal, counterfeit or stolen merchandise, are included within our definition of informal retailing. Activities in the “grey market”, which is usually understood to refer to trade in legal merchandise that is sold through unauthorized channels – for example cigarettes bought legally in another country, legally imported, but sold at lower prices than in authorized channels – will be included as informal retailing if no tax is paid on sale by the retailer. However if the retailer pays tax – for example on cigarettes bought legally in another country but sold at a lower price than standard – the sale is included within formal retailing. In relation to click and collect purchases (i.e. where purchases are made over the internet but picked up at store) where the sales data is attributed depends on where the payment is made: If payment is made in store, then the sale is included in store-based sales. If payment is made over the internet, then the sale is included in internet retailing.See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Retailing research and analysis database.
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