How has Europe's retail scene developed over the centuries?

People have been buying and selling goods in Europe for millennia but the way in which they do it has changed a lot over the past couple of ...

June 13, 2017

People have been buying and selling goods in Europe for millennia but the ways in which they do it have changed dramatically over the past couple of centuries.

In the last couple of decades the pace of change has increased dramatically with the rise of e-commerce. Almost 50 percent of total retail sales growth since 2000 can now be attributed to online retailing – and it now contributes over 9 percent of Europe’s total retail sales.

Yet shopping centers and physical stores continue to be the most popular shopping channel with European consumers, and e-commerce has so far had limited impact on physical retailing in countries where it remains in its infancy. These include many Central, Eastern and Southern European countries as well as markets which have benefited from robust retail sales growth since 2008 like the Nordics.

“With double digit annual growth expected for online retailing over the next few years, there are no signs yet that the rapid growth in the sector will slow down,” says Jonathan Bayfield, Senior Retail Analyst, JLL.

Looking forward, physical retail will offer consumer service and brand experience. “We have tracked around 200 reports of online retailers going “offline”; opening stores in shopping centres, department stores and on the high street,” says Bayfield. “These retailers understand that physical retail can offer customers’ better service as well as help building brand awareness. A likely future model will be a hybrid: physical stores complemented by an e-commerce platform and supported by an advanced logistics facility.”

Take a look at the infographic below to find out more about how Europe’s retail scene got to its current state of play:

This infographic is taken from the JLL 2017 European Retail Investment Perspective.

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