The shift to online buying could prompt physical retail stores worldwide to commit a third of their space for online fulfillment.
That’s according to Edge by Ascential, a U.K.-based research and advisory firm. Its “Retail Insight” service provides market data and analysis to worldwide retailers — based on 2 million data points and 40 economic indicators for every country.
According to Retail Insight, by 2023, 34.8% of global “chain retail” sales will be online, up from 30.8% in 2021, rising to 37.7% by 2025. This shift will transform the purpose and layout of physical stores, Edge by Ascential predicts.
The pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital retail. Estimates vary on the magnitude. Regardless, physical retailers that had used their stores pre-Covid to fulfill orders held an advantage.
That trend — online ordering with local pickup or delivery — will likely accelerate. The effect will be a restructuring of the layout of physical retail, with significant store space repositioned for online fulfillment.
The transformation, according to Retail Insight, will impact all consumer categories.
Data from Edge by Ascential’s Retail Insight suggests physical retailers will adjust their store setups and strategies to stay competitive in the post-Covid world. Stores of the future will focus on accommodating online consumers, becoming physical portals into brand and product experiences, where shoppers can socialize and experiment with products while using digital touchpoints, such as mobile phones and social media.