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Pandemic drives e-commerce and logistics contracting in the real estate sector

Jenny Pizarro • 25/05/2021

This increase is not overly significant, but the structural change in goods and services purchased online has been significant. Before Covid-19, the leisure sector accounted for almost 40% of online sales, especially by travel agencies, tour operators, air and land transport, hotels and accommodation, and cultural activities. However, all these services disappeared with the confinement, while other goods and products have registered a completely different behaviour between the second quarter of 2020 and the same period of 2019. This is the case for the following sectors.

Percentage changes Q2 2020 vs. Q2 2019:

Sectors

T2 2020 vs. T2 2019

Building materials

+295%

Furniture, lighting and home

+191%

Household appliances, image and sound

+183%

Sporting goods and toys

+137%

Hyper/supermarkets

+131%

Cosmetics and perfumery

+89%

Clothing

+68%

Footwear and leather goods

+64%

 

A new paradigm

The analysis shows a significant figure of a 90% increase in online sales of goods during the second quarter of 2020 compared to the same quarter in 2019. In addition, a record volume of online transactions was reached with more than 244 million transactions during Q2 2020. This shows that more consumers accessed the online channel to purchase physical goods, indicating that a portion of physical sales moved to the online channel.

It is necessary to estimate how much of the physical sales will remain in the cloud and how much will return to physical shops once the pandemic subsides. To this end, Cushman & Wakefield has analysed the latest published e-commerce sales data for Q3 2020. The result shows an increase of 2.5% between July and August, compared to the same period in 2019, and transactions exceeded 258 million.

In this regard, between Q3 2020 and Q3 2019, there were the following variations in the sectors mentioned above: 

Sectors

T3 2020 vs. T3 2019

Building materials

+208%

Furniture, lighting and home

+89%

Household appliances, image and sound

+86%

Sporting goods and toys

+70%

Hyper/supermarkets

+96%

Cosmetics and perfumery

+54%

Clothing

+44%

Footwear and leather goods

+57%

  

Following the same analysis and focusing on goods that can be purchased in physical shops, there is a 56% increase in this group of the volume sold online. This percentage is lower compared to 90% in Q2 2020, reflecting that some of the purchases of physical goods have returned to their original channel, but some have continued to be sourced through e-commerce.
Although it is still too early to predict how the situation will turn out, it is very likely that a part of the sales will return to the physical channel, although another part will remain in the cloud due to the habit acquired by consumers.

Boosting the contracting of logistics space

Internet sales are having a strong impact on logistics, both in warehousing and transport. Warehousing has a significant impact on the realestate sector, especially in terms of contracting logistics space. As a result, the absorption of logistics space has remained very dynamic in the twelve months between March 2020 and March 2021.

In the Madrid market and its area of influence, the take-up of logistics warehouses reached 830,000 sq m during 2020, placing it at the level of the record years for logistics contracting and an increase of almost 50% compared to 2019. The first quarter of 2021 was even more impressive, with almost 350,000 sqm being contracted, making it the quarter with the highest level of absorption in the historical series.
With regard to Barcelona, the same dynamics have been observed, but with a time lag: during 2020, logistics take-up was 443,300 m², 25% less compared to the 600,000 m² of logistics take-up in 2019. However, the first quarter was exceptional, with a take-up of 256,000 sq m, which is almost 43% of the total take-up in 2019 and close to 60% compared to the annual total for 2020.

These figures for the country's two main logistics markets reflect the momentum of e-commerce. At the same time, retailers are betting on omnichannel, understanding e-commerce within the triangle formed by physical shops, logistics and the cloud. New ways of shopping balance the physical with the virtual for a better shopping experience with a focus on consumer satisfaction.

MEDIA CONTACT

Jenny Pizarro
Jenny Pizarro

Partner, Head of Business Development • Barcelona

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