In Focus
E-COMMERCE | Staff Reporter, Korea

Asia Pacific's retail industry to recover fastest post-pandemic

Several markets in the region managed to avoid lockdowns.

The retail industry in Asia Pacific is expected to recover the quickest after the pandemic because of minimal impact from lockdown measures, pre-existing economic problems and lack of political change and dysfunction, according to a Euromonitor report.

The region remains the strongest market in size and growth, and several markets, including Japan and Taiwan, managed to avoid the nationwide lockdowns and kept relatively low number of COVID-19 cases, the report noted.

"Whilst customers are still turning to e-commerce, retailers in these markets face less challenging outlook in comparison to other regions," Euromonitor said.

However, not all markets in Asia Pacific sailed smoothly amidst the crisis, such as in India, where a month-long shutdown of non-essential retailers between April and July was put in place in response to quickly growing case numbers.

"Unemployment spiked somewhat higher in India as well, which contributes to the more negative outlook for the remainder of 2020," the report added.

Globally, the pandemic is projected to cause retail sales to decline by 3.5% globally in 2020, which amounts to around $500b, as it required many stores to temporarily close, weakened consumer demand and hiked the costs for many retailers.

In this backdrop, consumers have increasingly turned to e-commerce, with markets like South Korea and China recording strong increase. "Ecommerce intermediaries, marketplaces, delivery platforms and social media services all play a role towards this growth," the report added.

By segments, apparel and footwear specialist, department stores, homewares and home furnishing specialist are set to be the worst affected in 2020, which are all together projected to record sales decline by as much as $543b.

In contrast, e-commerce and modern grocery retailers have thrived due to home seclusions and quarantine. Euromonitor projected that e-commerce will increase by $443b in 2020.

Furthermore, modern grocery channels which include hypermarkets, discounters, supermarkets, convenience stores and forecourt retailers are expected to see sales growth by $111b over the same period.

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