The pandemic has accelerated the growth of the online channel in the distribution sector, a trend that will continue, albeit more moderately, as long as expectations about the end of the health crisis are met.
According to a report by the consulting firm Oliver Wyman, in 2029 33% of the income generated by the European retail sector will come from this route, while the rest will come from physical sales, which although gradually loses ground will continue to be the most important path for the operators business.
The same proportion is expected in Spain, a market that until the pandemic lagged behind in the penetration of electronic commerce compared to other large countries on the continent. In 2019 it accounted for 5.5% of total retail sales, a percentage that due to the effect of the pandemic, especially due to closures and restrictions imposed on non-essential physical commerce, this percentage has climbed to 15%, as explained by the Oliver Wyman’s retail and consumer goods partner, María Miralles.
“The offline channel is not going to die and it will continue to represent two thirds of the sales that are made. But there will be categories that move more online and others more offline. We expect Spain to approach European levels ”, said Miralles. This will also translate into a greater weight of organized distribution. This generates around 40% of the retail business in Spain due to the great weight that independent businesses still have, 62% of the European average.
A difference that will be reduced, also due to a process of consolidation and closings that is expected in the coming years, and that will result in online growth. In 2020, according to the report, e-commerce sales in Spain grew by 38% compared to 2019, being the second fastest growing European country, behind Poland.
Categories such as electronics, books or textiles will be closer to half of their sales being generated online. “In products that are easy to buy each time the consumer will opt for this channel,” said Miralles.