Global Retail Review
The onset of COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 altered the retail status quo and accelerated shifts in consumer behavior and existing industry trends. Retail sales rebounded in 2021 driven by pent-up demand following the easing of pandemic restrictions despite continued supply chain disruptions, labor shortages and rising inflation.
In the U.S. retail sales have grown by almost 4% annually since 2010. As we emerge from the global pandemic, retail continues to grow and at levels not seen in over 15 years. In Australia, retail sales reached an all-time high increasing 25% year over year in April 2021. Retail sales throughout Europe mostly improved in 2021 year over year with some countries returning to pre-pandemic levels although recovery may be uneven.
The pandemic necessitated the adoption of e-commerce and online shopping became the new normal. Although the importance of traditional holiday retail days diminished as consumers shopped early and late in the 2021 holiday season, online holiday sales rose 5% globally to $1.14 trillion.
Retail is always in a state of disruption and those in the retail industry will continue to evaluate and adapt their business models in 2022, to adjust to evolving consumer demand and reduce costs. As retailers try to understand how to benefit from accelerating trends, they will continue to expand e-commerce options, redefine the role of physical stores and formats and build sustainable business practices to align with shifting consumer preferences while navigating inflation, surges in COVID-19 variants, ongoing supply chain issues and other major headwinds.
Learn more about regional retail trends in the articles below:
*Year-end figures reflect metrics as of December 31, 2021.