Not every shopper will shop online
There’s no doubt at all that 2018 has been a tough year for bricks and mortar retail. Where I sit in the UK, the traditional high street has borne the brunt not just of economic woes but also the inevitable rise of e-commerce. As I look further afield, there’s no doubt that all around the world, shoppers are increasingly looking to ‘e-tailers’ to meet some of their needs. In China, for example, Singles Day on 11/11 saw the largest sales ever.
But to those who would consign traditional shops to the history books in 2019, I’d urge you to think again.
There’s no doubt that many traditional chain stores will struggle and those in FMCG should be under no illusion: larger format supermarket and hypermarkets will struggle in the year ahead. But this doesn’t mean that every shopper will switch online.
It’s clear that for regular purchases, online retail doesn’t meet the needs of, or even reach, the billions of people worldwide who live on lower incomes. Further, younger urban shoppers appear to favour more frequent purchasing to the bulk-buying that their parents’ generation became so enamoured with and these shopping trips take place in the real world.
Though I’m certain the e-commerce channels will continue to be the fastest growing, in many categories this will be from a small base. My call for 2019 is that growth in convenience retail and in discount retail will continue to deliver the bulk of the growth in global retail sales. The winners this time next year will be those who can untap the opportunities in these channels as well as online.