Global retail stares at USD 2.1 trillion loss, to take 4 years to revive from COVID-19 impact

The impact on India and Japan is to be severe due to the strict lockdowns, the declaration of a state of emergency in Japan, and the postponement of the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Published: 05th May 2020 01:26 PM  |   Last Updated: 05th May 2020 01:26 PM   |  A+A-

Retail inflation, shopping

For representational purpose only.


NEW DELHI: With the COVID-10 pandemic ravaging several industries amid poor consumer spending, global retail sales in 2020 will decline by an average of 9.6 per cent, resulting in a loss of $2.1 trillion and it will take four years for retailers to overtake pre-pandemic levels, a new Forrester report said on Tuesday.

The impact on India and Japan is to be severe due to the strict lockdowns, the declaration of a state of emergency in Japan, and the postponement of the 2020 Summer Olympics.

The likelihood is that the epidemic will last seven months, and from 2021 retail categories, that have declined by more than 10 per cent, will only bounce back to 90 per cent of pre-pandemic spend.

In the worst-case scenario, lost online sales could reach $510 billion, and even in the best case, retailers will lose $244 billion in online sales, the report mentioned.

"COVID–19 is significantly impacting the global retail landscape. Retail categories like grocery and essential consumables are performing well, while other categories like fashion, beauty, and cosmetics are seeing a marked decline in consumer spend," said Michael O'Grady, principal forecast analyst at Forrester.

In 2020, there will be a significant decline in global retail sales, particularly with non-essential items sold offline, which will be a big challenge for brick–and–mortar retailers.

"Online sales, however, will be more resilient. To navigate the crisis, retailers need to manage their costs and drive their ecommerce sales and services as much as possible," he added.

While offline non-grocery retail will contract by 20 per cent, ecommerce sales will remain flat this year.

In Asia Pacific, the loss of sales is predicted to reach $767 billion in 2020, a decline of 10 per cent from 2019.

China is the most negatively affected country in the region, with $192 billion of retail sales lost in January and February compared to the same period last year.

"Retailers will continue to face growth constraints, with a lot of brick–and–mortar retailers predicting losses in 2020. Many will also assume that their growth in online sales will not be enough to offset the lost sales from store closures," said the report from the global market research firm.

Online sales will remain flat, and an average of $360 billion in online retail sales will be lost globally in 2020 compared to pre-COVID-19 forecasts.

In 2020, global online retail sales will grow by only 0.6 per cent compared to 2019. In the US, retail sales will fall by $321 billion in 2020, a decline of 9.1 per cent from 2019.

Retail sales will lose 260 billion euros across EU-5 (the UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy) in 2020, a decline of 10.4 per cent from 2019.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp