The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to alter the retail status quo and accelerate industry trends globally. Mandated closures, capacity limitations, social distancing measures and supply chain issues and shipping delays that resulted from the pandemic’s global outbreak accelerated many industry changes that were already underway.
The retail industry was upended as the virus spread in 2020, forcing store closures and the shift to e-commerce, which quickly became the preferred shopping channel for millions of consumers. The continued growth of e-commerce, off price and value retailers will continue in the COVID-19-driven recession.
Retailers that were not able to pivot to omni-channel or make the shift to e-commerce faced difficulties with the onset of the pandemic. Despite the challenges COVID-19 presented, certain retailers within the grocery, sporting goods, mass merchandisers, home furnishings and home improvement sectors prospered with the shift in consumer spending. Other retailers benefited from the mergers, acquisitions and consolidation of market share because of closures from competitors.
Additionally, off price and value formats are thriving, and Gordon Brothers believes a pent-up demand exists for a return to department stores, theaters, restaurants and gyms.
While the past year brought unprecedented uncertainty, complexity and change to the retail industry, the pandemic will continue to shape the year ahead. Retailers and those in the retail industry will continue to evaluate and adapt their business models, reduce costs and adjust to evolving consumer demand.