Ecommerce has been here for 30 years. Books. com was promoting online while Jeff Bezos was working on Wall Street. After decades free from sales taxes, ecommerce was 11. 4% of U.
S. retail sales in 2019, based on the Department of Commerce. Meanwhile, social media usage had been almost flat over the previous four years, had declined among Americans lower than 35 years old, and the one group using Facebook more were people 55 or older. As a advertising medium, online channels were cluttered and more and more viewed with suspicion as media attention to hackers raised consciousness of cybersecurity issues. Combined with the ability to block ads, the hastily growing to be costs of acquiring clients online, the adventure of “Zoombombing,” and controls on customer data by EU regulators and others, it’s uncertain how much buying and selling will happen online sooner or later. Similarly, most news reports about retailers begin with a well-recognized trope: “No industry is failing faster than retail.
. . . ” The variety of malls in the U. S.
was about 300 in 1970, 1,000 by the year 2000, and 1,200 by 2019, and outlet centers went from a handful to about 400 during an analogous period. Most mall closings thru 2019 were older searching facilities that lacked trendy dealers, lively eating places, and other things linked to a good browsing experience. Demographics change and so does retail. A study of closings found that newer looking centers, not ecommerce, were the most common cause. As the old adage puts it, the three most important things in retailing are area, location, vicinity. In the U.
S. , spending in retail stores higher each year from 2009 to 2019, a typical of 48 million square feet retail space was built yearly, mall site visitors also increasedand was at a multi year high in 2019, while base rental prices and sales per square foot also greater ceaselessly and occupancy rates never dipped below 90% during an analogous period. Years before the present crisis, times were already bad for Sears, Kmart, Payless Shoes and others with too many stores, an excessive amount of debt, and promoting that lagged demographic and stylistic changes. As in any market, there has always been disruption in the sense that some figure it out and others don’t. Check out departstoremuseum.
org for a web tour of defunct sellers over the past century and more . . . and their innovative successors.