On a recent Sunday my family and I took a trip to an outlet mall that we have not frequented in over 2 years. Many of our favorite stores were still in operation but what was most alarming was that nearly a quarter (1 in 4) storefronts that we saw were empty. In what appears to be a healthy economy what can we attribute to this decline?
The short answer – eCommerce. According to the company Internet Retailer their analysis of consumer buying trends is one to take notice of. Some of their findings include:
- eCommerce now represents 14.3% of all total retail sales in 2018. In 2007, that number was 5.1%.
- Consumers spent $517.36 billion online with U.S. merchants in 2018, up 15.0% from $449.88 billion spent the year prior.
- eCommerce sales represented more than half, or 51.9%, of all retail sales growth.
Internet Retailer estimates that the total value of transactions from U.S. consumers on eCommerce giant Amazon.com reached $206.82 billion in sales last year (including sales of Amazon’s own products and of marketplace sellers), a 16.3% jump from 2017.
Even the hardcore traditionalist shoppers who prefer to see, feel, and touch products before buying them have succumb to the reality that the way we are purchasing goods and services has changed. Online shopping is fast, convenient, reliable, and for the most part risk-free.
Those empty storefronts on that day were indeed sad to see, the reality is that the next time we frequent that outlet mall, we may see more empty spaces.