The future of Retail in 2020 took a massive turn with the pandemic Corona Virus. At the beginning of the year, analysts were seen predicting the future of Retail in a sad tone. The growth rate of Retail was considered to be as less as 2% to nil. Experts were sure that without taking any steps towards online transition, the future of the Retail looked doomed. But things certainly changed. It changed to an extent, unimaginable. To understand the exciting turn of events in Retail with one global crisis, here is a prediction comparison before & after COVID 19.
With digitization experiencing an all-time high, offline selling has been very primarily affected. Online selling overtime has been seeing a surge of acceptance, even in the interiors of the developing countries. Considering the price advantages that a person gets with online purchases, the rate of new customers across all industries was seen growing exponentially.
With the growth in online, a significant concern spread amongst the offline retailers who were seen losing markets terribly. Be it shopping or groceries, daily needs, or luxuries; the retail market was seen losing market with the new generation choosing online shopping over them. Analysts predicted that it is only the small business owners who, in the last few years who took to digitization, were flourishing. There was no hope for the rest if they fail to follow the trend and adapt to the new world.
If you look at the articles of January, February, and even in early March, You would notice how the experts suggest immediate adaptability. Suggestions like working on a better user experience and having a digital face of the retail stores were commonly seen in various articles. Below are the trends that were being anticipated as the future of Retail.
- The rise of brandless products
- More number of hybrid businesses also known as the New Retail
- EMIs to become more popular
- Use of social media channels for after-sales service or as communication channels
- Retails using their inventories for digital sales
- Brick and mortar stores may collaborate with suppliers for a more significant inventory for digital face.
- Door deliveries are becoming extremely common.
- E-commerce giants would try a real face in the shape of stores for pickup deliveries and shopping.
During COVID 19
Things certainly changed when COVID-19 hit. The pandemic is affecting the worldwide economy. But while that is the sad news, it unexpectedly altered the scenario for the brick-and-mortar retail stores. But not all. Small business retail stores of essential items have made it big during these critical times. While digital businesses were expected to grow exponentially, it doesn’t seem to anymore. While these trying times are proving to be magical for specific industries, others are bound to face losses. But the people who indeed came out as the winners were medicine and groceries.
Due to the restriction in movement and work, a lot of online services got affected. The limits and lockdowns in most countries resulted in two main things.
Surge in the sell of non-branded items
- The brick and mortar stores turn out to be the real friend in need.
- Online services may be convenient but do not work in times of emergency.
But what about the Retail of other industries, categories that do not fall under the essentials tag. They are suffering big-time losses from where many stories might not be able to cope.
After considering the changes that are taking place, a lot of predictions seem to change post-COVID 19. Let us first divide the Retail into two segments; one is for the essentials and second for everything else. Why there is a requirement of segregating at this point is the difference in the predictions for each.
When we are considering the Retail of the essential market, it not only seems the most flourishing but also doesn’t seem to stop. Analysts predict that post-COVID, people would continue shopping offline for their necessities. While one reason is out of gratitude, trust, and habit, the other purpose would be the urge to go out and experience shopping for daily requirements.
On the other hand, the Retail in other different categories would need a fresh start with new funds. Even the bigger ones would have to cut down the size of people to sustain. Others may not even survive. While analysts pre COVID were predicting a 2% growth rate, post-COVID, they are expecting more than 50% decline.