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Physical retail has lost relevance due to pandemic ESW finds

Sophie Smith
20 October 2021

Restricted access to physical retail due to COVID-19 has continued to erode the relevance of bricks and mortar retail for the next generation of shoppers, according to a new report from ESW.

ESW’s Global Voices: Pre-Peak Pulse 2021 survey of almost 15,000 consumers showed 35% of shoppers didn’t miss in-person shopping during the pandemic, increasing to 39% of Millennial respondents.

With direct-to-consumer and cross-border ecommerce emerging as a driving force, the ESW data shows that nearly one-fifth (18%) of global consumers have now shopped online for products they had only previously purchased in-store.

In addition, e-commerce allows consumers to purchase products from global brands that are not accessible in-store in their country. The data revealed that more than a third (33%) of Millennial consumers made more than eleven purchases online and from outside their own country in the last six months, supporting the idea that purchasing directly from brands cross-border has increasingly become the generational norm for this demographic.

Additionally, 11% of respondents reported purchasing from new companies and retailers. This means that in the past 12 months, approximately £280bn worth of spending switched brands, highlighting the opportunity for businesses to dislodge incumbents and reach new customers and demographics.

Martim Avillez Oliveira, Chief Commercial Officer, EMEA and APAC at ESW, said: "The transactional engine for future growth in the retail sector has undoubtedly accelerated into digital channels and our research confirms it is unlikely this will reverse.

"As consumers become ever more confident and conversant with shopping online, spurred on through necessity during the pandemic, retailers must step up to meet their expectations by providing the frictionless and engaging purchasing experiences they demand."

ESW is the cross-border ecommerce leader, which aims to empower the world’s best-loved brands and retailers to make global shopping better, safer, simpler and faster, end-to-end.

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