A ‘seismic’ shift by consumers in favour of online shopping has triggered a major demand for new purpose-built warehouse facilities, says a Birmingham business expert.
Massive changes in the way UK shoppers buy goods is having a key impact on the property infrastructure which supports the retail industry, according to real estate firm Cushman and Wakefield.
The huge growth in online retailing is leading to a clamour for more strategically located purpose-built warehouses, says a new report into the growth of e-commerce and trends in retailing from Cushman & Wakefield.
David Binks, industrial partner at the firm’s Birmingham office, said: “Our report has found that the UK has been at the centre of a ‘seismic shift’ in consumer behaviour in the past five years.
“Consumers are demanding seamless shopping experiences, where accessibility of product and ease of purchases are key.
“Because of this, we are seeing the need for potential infrastructure change, with retailers having to upgrade their supply chain to compete, with distribution cost a key consideration.”
Among reasons for the change in retail habits is the growth in online shopping, which has had a dramatic impact in the UK. In the UK, internet retailing in 2012 totalled €43 bn, with the nearest European competitor, Germany, only managing €25 bn. In Europe as a whole, the average per country for internet spending was only €5 bn.
This has impacted in a number of ways, including the move from some high street chains such as Argos and John Lewis towards embracing the ‘click and collect’ model, where shoppers buy online and then travel to their nearest shop to pick up their goods.
Argos receives 43 per cent of its sales online, and John Lewis 25 per cent. The impact of this has led to a demand for new outlets to act as collection points.