Economy Watch: Revolutionary Times For Retail

While the retail sector is facing several challenges, the tumult is actually symptomatic of revolutionary change in the industry, with emerging winners and losers, according to a new Colliers International report.

These might be tough times for parts of the retail sector, but the tumult might actually be symptomatic of revolutionary change within the industry, Colliers International asserts in a new report. And like most revolutions, there will be winners and losers.

Some of the “losers” are already apparent, such as faded or fading brands like Sears and Toys R Us. On the other hand, underdog niche brands such as ASOS and Daniel Wellington are rising in popularity, and behemoths like Amazon and are staking claims offline, even as online shopping has evolved from a novelty to a part of everyday life for most people.

“As time spent online continues to increase, the shift has dramatically impacted the consumer perception of the store environment as the epicenter of the shopping experience,” Colliers said. “The physical space is no longer the final destination, but one of many touchpoints available.”

Even Internet-based brands are facing that new reality. Spurred by an influx of digital technology, e-commerce brands are racing to keep up with the not-so-gradual transformation of the modern consumer and the ever-changing ways they shop, the report noted.

Other takeaways

Although online shopping is here to stay, Americans are almost evenly split on their preferred shopping channels, with 51 percent shopping online, while 49 percent prefer shopping in-store.

Also, as virtual reality tech allows for greater viewability from anywhere in the world, the immediate benefit for CRE brokers and landlords is the potential to increase their reach and vastly expand traditional prospect lists.

Mixed reality, which is comprised of standard and virtual elements, is expected to grow into a $95 billion market by 2025, the report siad. The integration of mixed reality into a retail omnichannel strategy can thus expand a retailer’s reach onto a whole new playing field, where consumers are willing to interact with brands in novel ways, such as through their VR sets.