In 2017 there were rumors of multitudes of retail stores closing by the “Fake News.” In their attempt to find some way to blame the current administration things were exaggerated as always. Fast forward to 2020. Due to COVID-19, the clampdown on personal movement, the exaggeration has unfortunately come to pass. Just not due to causes given before.
The bigger surprise may be that retail spending has not declined
According to Glamor, anywhere from 20,000 to 25,000 stores could close in 2020-2021. But all is not doom and gloom. The hardest hit, according to Coresight Research will be the Malls. At a high of 60% or approximately 15,000 stores. This was the number of closures estimated for 2019. COVID-19 changed all that with the Quarantine.
Ecommerce Is The New Norm
Other massive closures not apparel based include Pier 1 with 936 stores! GNC with 304 closures. J.C. Penny and Macy’s may not come as any surprise. Papyrus Greeting Cards and Walmart might.
The bigger surprise may be retail spending. It is not declining according to The Atlantic Magazine. “Mall visits declined 50 percent between 2010 and 2013. According to the real-estate research firm Cushman and Wakefield they’ve kept falling every year since.”
So does it comes as any surprise that Amazon grew from $16 billion in 2010. To more than $321 billion in the 12 months closing on June 30, 2020. Will Amazon be closing any retail stores? Aside from the fact they have very few, their retail stores are not the same liability as those in the Mall’s.
Nearly anything You Can Imagine Can Be found On Amazon
So unparalleled closures and bankruptcy protection. This with massive increase in ecommerce sales is the new norm. And why not? You don’t have to leave the house to shop. From the comfort of a couch from Wayfair Home Goods. On an iPhone 11 using Apple Wallet, you can shop to your hearts content.
Nearly anything you can imagine is found on Amazon alone. If not Alibaba is hardly far behind. Of course there’s always eBay if all else fails. There are all the thousands of other retailers like Home Depot, Best Buy, or CVS to name a few. If all those apparel retailers get their act together, their ecommerce sales could see huge increases.
Many Retailers Will See The Handwriting On The Wall
If all that has happened with COVID-19 to our GNP isn’t enough, let me drop another tidbit that is around the corner. Robotics. Artificial Intelligence. Deep Learning. Machine Learning. What does all that have to do with GNP and you? Plenty!
Many retailers are going to see the handwriting on the wall. For any task that requires redundancy. Stocking shelves, turning screws, pounding nails, changing flat tires, tightening lug nuts. There is most likely a Robot that can do it. If not there most likely soon will be.
Another recent invention making huge strides are 3D printers. Companies that were singularly involved in the auto industry supplying parts are no longer the only source. 3D printers can make the parts to specs with a fraction of the cost and time. Printer shops can be set up in empty mall spaces, or any other location abandoned by a business that’s shut down. They have become one of the biggest sellers on Amazon.
People Are Going To Have To Reeducate/Retrain Themselves
What does it all mean? People are going to have to reeducate/retrain themselves to do new things. In some cases, those “things” are going to have to be invented or created. And creativity will be the buzz word for many decades to come.
Considering history this is nothing new. The world has seen many “revolutions” in terms of social change. Fire, the wheel, electricity, and the internal combustion engine. Model T Ford, flight, air transportation, all seemed like a threat to normalcy. They were! And the world changed right along with them.
The Changes Keep Getting Faster
What’s most interesting about this, is the changes keep getting faster. At the close of 1980 cell phones were in their infancy. Computers took up entire buildings. In 40 years we hold computers that filled buildings in our hands. We make calls around the world with the same instrument.
Because of these advances Artificial Intelligence has flourished. Deep Learning. Machine Learning. Facial Recognition. Speech Recognition In the last 12 years have gone beyond expectations. It’s all happening faster and in our lifetime.
All The Photos You Want From A Cell Phone Instead Of a Polaroid
So yes, retail brick and mortar stores are closing by the thousands. But we can buy anything we choose on our cell phone or tablet. And have them delivered to our home. Which gives us more time to party, watch a movie from home with friends…or not. Maybe just go somewhere we’ve never been before, because we can.
And take all the photos we want from our cell phone instead of a Polaroid!