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Online sales could dominate retail within 20 years

Market research by UK analyst firm Yomdel has estimated that half of Australian retail sales could occur online by 2033, if the average annual growth rate of 16.6 per cent continues in future.

Using retail sales data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Yomdel calculated the average rate online sales have been growing since 2014 and stretched it out across the next 20 years to find the tipping point.

Taking the calculation to its natural conclusion, e-commerce would reach 98.1 per cent of total sales by 2037, tipping to a complete e-commerce retail landscape by 2038. However, even Yomdel chief executive Andy Soloman thinks that is unlikely.

“Rather than the high street becoming obsolete, we like to believe it will survive and evolve to deal with the changing face of consumer behaviour as people will always value that personal aspect that a physical shop provides,” he said.

Soloman said it is important for bricks-and-mortar retailers to ensure they are pivoting with the times, but still retain the human element that is vital in commerce.

“This research shows how prominent technology and the internet is becoming in our day-to-day shopping habits, and further innovation to the retail sector could see the high street struggle to compete a lot sooner than these figures suggest,” he said.

The rate at which online shopping is growing in Australia has increased every year so far, while Yomdel’s data has assumed a flat increase each year, suggesting it’s entirely possible we may reach an online-only retail world sooner than the 20 years estimated.

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