How is Coronavirus Affecting Retail?

About four months into the new coronavirus-shaped economy, just what the heck is going on?

You have your own experience.

But it’s important to know what’s happening at the macro-level so you can strategize and adjust.

So take a look at some of the changes coronavirus has caused in retail:

1. Sectors with the Greatest Year-Over-Year Growth

Statista compiles data on, well, practically everything (as its name suggests).

In retail, it tracks year-over-year changes by sector. And here’s what’s grown year-over-year as of June 2020:

  • Nonstore retailers (ecommerce): 23.5% growth
  • Sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument, and book stores: 20.6%
  • Building material, gardening equipment, and related supplies dealers: 17.3%
  • Food and beverage stores: 17.3%
  • Motor vehicle and parts dealers: 7.5%
  • General merchandise stores: 2.5%

Did any of those surprise you?

Any shifts you can make in product lines to capitalize on those growth trends?

2. Many Consumers Splurge with Their Stimulus Checks

Plenty of consumers have spent their economic stimulus checks on essentials.

But not everyone.

Leading retailers like Target, Walmart, Best Buy, and BJ’s have reported marked increases in discretionary spending in the wake of the first round of stimulus checks, reports MarketWatch.

While it’s too late to respond to that, the Fed is seriously considering a second round of economic stimulus checks.

Interestingly, adults began buying bicycles in droves so they could join their kids.

So, how can you participate in that if it comes around a second time?

3. An Intensified Demand for Omnichannel Retail

Stores and malls used to differentiate themselves from e-commerce based on the experiences you can have.

They were already struggling in the pre-coronavirus economy. And now they’re practically down for the count.

While states may be opening up slowly, consumers will remain hesitant to go out into the world.

Large retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Costco, and Target already have their online and offline presences aligned to offer a consistent consumer experience.

If you haven’t already worked on optimizing your logistics and supply chain to make that happen, it’s time to get that in high-gear now.

It’s impossible to say when society will return to normal.

4. The Desire to Support Local SMBs Will Intensify

It’s human nature to support what’s local and familiar. And that urge will only increase as coronavirus settles down.

Think of how we’ve reacted locally after big disasters. Consider how New York, and even the whole nation, unified in the wake of 9/11. Or look at New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

People want to see their own communities survive and thrive. Expect that to be strong once it appears we’re in the clear from coronavirus.

Of course, there’s much more than this. But now you have at least some of the highlights as you plan ahead.