Half of UK retail sales will be online within 10 years, report predicts

Half of UK retail sales will be online within 10 years, report predicts (The Guardian)

  • According to a report by the analysts Retail Economics for the law firm Womble Bond Dickinson, online shopping could double its share to account for more than half of retail sales in 10 years’ time.
  • Future online growth will be driven by the ongoing demographic shift as well as the advancement of new technologies such as AI which could enable automation of delivery and personalised marketing.
  • Meanwhile, the traditional retail industry is undergoing a difficult readjustment period, with Debenhams, Marks & Spencer and the Topshop owner Arcadia all having announced plans to close stores.

Analysis and Comments

  •  Already, a quarter of the world’s population are Millennials, with the oldest members of Gen Z approaching their mid teens and early twenties. In ten years, about half of the UK’s adult consumers will be digital natives, many of which shop online multiple times a month.
  • After five consecutive years of net closures of retail stores, the trend seems set to continue, given that the demographic headwinds aren’t likely to ease off anytime soon.
  • However, I would also point towards another finding of the study regarding Gen Z, which showed that nearly a quarter of respondents said they were more likely to do shopping in high streets and shopping centres.
  • This not only highlights the groups complexity, but may also explain in part why I am continuing to see large online pure plays opening their own physical stores at a time where retail conditions are very tough.

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