Online Retail Penetration Remains Low for Grocery, While Consumer Electronics is Set to See 50% of all Sales from Online Channels in Coming Years

19 Mar 2024

Following turbulent years for retail, omnichannel has become the primary focus for large and small retailers alike. Retail stores and employee numbers look set to decrease across most segments as retailers introduce new store technologies and invest in alternative fulfillment methods. According to global technology intelligence firm ABI Research, retail stores will fall at a CAGR of -1.8% and -0.9% in North America and Europe, respectively. At the same time, retail employee numbers in North America will fall at a CAGR of -2.6% to 2030, while retail stores in Europe look set to fall at a CAGR of -0.9% in the same period, with the drop much higher in the region’s major economies.

“Online retail had its boom in the wake of the pandemic, but in-store retail has made a strong comeback, and consumers are demanding a complimentary blend of both online offerings and enhanced in-store experiences. Retailers of all sizes realize the need to master both and are dedicating significant investment to technologies that can facilitate an omnichannel strategy,” explains Ryan Wiggin, Supply Chain Management & Logistics Industry Analyst at ABI Research.

While a rise in online retail and declining store footprints is apparent across all major economies in North America and Europe, the magnitude of this change varies across countries and retail segments. For example, online retail has surpassed 30% of all sales in the UK, while Italy sits much lower at just over 11%. Food and grocery hold a relatively low online sales penetration rate across all countries assessed, ranging from 3-13%. In contrast, online sales for segments such as apparel and electronics take up a much larger proportion of total sales, even looking set to surpass 50% of all sales by 2030 in certain countries.

Retailers such as Sephora, Nordstrom, Home Depot, and Walmart are leading the charge for omnichannel shopping. They are digitally connecting their different means of fulfillment to improve the overall customer experience and drive sales.

“While an assessment of retail stores and employees paints a negative growth picture, it’s important to remember that is because of restructuring, not declining retail growth. ABI Research forecasts that retailers will be among the highest spenders on advanced technology over the coming years, optimizing in-store and delivery operations and bringing new ways of shopping to the consumer,” concludes Wiggin.

These findings are from ABI Research’s Retail in North America and Europe: Stores, Employees, and Online-Retail market data report. This report is part of the company’s Supply Chain Management and Logistics research service, which includes research, data, and ABI Insights. Market Data spreadsheets comprise deep data, market share analysis, and highly segmented, service-specific forecasts to provide detailed insight into where opportunities lie.

About ABI Research

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