Last week we looked at the continuing issues faced by the restaurant sector post Covid. This week we look at bricks-and-mortar retail.

In May 2021, it was predicted by e-Marketer total retail sales around the world for that year would increase by 6.0% to just over $25 trillion, a significant comeback from 2020’s lows. Instead, the world produced a 9.7% growth rate, which kicked total retail spending up to $26.031 trillion—far exceeding our original expectations. Hey, what’s an extra trillion here and there?

In-store sales rebounded by 8.2% last year, to $21.094 trillion, more than was spent in 2019. Pent-up demand from in-person shoppers accelerated the recovery by two full years. Remarkably, this quick transition back to stores did not constrain shoppers from matching our ecommerce growth expectations. Wallets were wide open in 2021.

Revised forecasts by e-Marketer predict that globally:

  • Bricks-and-mortar will grow between 2.6% and 3.4% for the remainder of the forecast, out to 2025.
  • Bricks-and-mortar will see more new spending this year (2022) than ecommerce ($702.17 billion versus $603.68 billion), despite its slower growth rate.

This rollercoaster pattern in retail sales was nearly universal around the world. Retail sales went negative in 2020 almost everywhere; then they rebounded to heights not seen in years almost everywhere in 2021; and they will return to previously “normal” levels almost everywhere in 2022.

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