Publications

- April 1, 2021: Vol. 33, Number 4

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Flying with a tailwind: The shift to ecommerce has supported trends in the industrial sector

by Andrea Zander

The 2020 ecommerce boom was a greatly disruptive force, especially for brick-and-mortar retailers, which are still feeling the repercussions, including another 10,000 store closures estimated for this year. With the move from in-store to online purchasing, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift to digital shopping by about five years, according to data from IBM’s U.S. Retail Index. If brick-and-mortar retailers have yet to make the digital push, they need to start; U.S. shoppers spent $791.7 billion on ecommerce in 2020, up 32.4 percent from 2019, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

But if the pandemic was a headwind for the retail sector, it provided a tailwind for the industrial sector, as shopping moved online and into warehouses.

Retailers will need to increase their distribution-center footprints across the country because of the projected significant growth in e-fulfillment volumes, and with that, the need for industrial real estate will gro

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