In 2020, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic fundamentally transformed the global retailing industry, not least by making e-commerce the default option for many homebound consumers. As the world begins tentatively to move past the pandemic, many consumers will return to stores, and the future looks bright for retailing, but retailers must now accelerate the transformation of their physical footprints to provide a seamless shopping experience across store-based and digital channels.
As remote work patterns reshape mobility trends, retail infrastructure will shift to a leaner, localised and more suburban footprint that devotes a greater amount of physical space to online order fulfilment. Although the look, location, role and feel of bricks-and-mortar stores are evolving, store-based retailing will remain the largest and most important channel globally over the next five years.
With the reduction of in-person shopping, due to health concerns, livestreaming made inroads during the crisis, emerging as a digital shopping medium with the ability to create an emotional connection more associated with in-person shopping. Live selling has the potential to further disrupt an already shaken retail industry in 2021 and beyond.
With economic recovery slow in many places and highly uneven in others, many consumers will turn to retail channels specialising in low-cost products. This will be particularly true of essentials like grocery or home care products.
Rising last-mile delivery costs and environmental concerns, magnified by the crisis-inspired e-commerce boom, are forcing retailers to explore new delivery and collection methods. While companies struggle to build up logistics networks and re-imagine physical assets to handle this new level of demand, consumers are likely to be forced to reset their last mile delivery expectations in 2021.
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
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