The retail world is becoming a borderless global marketplace, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s Retail MarketView report, released today at RECon in Las Vegas. Mature retail and gateway cities serve as the foundation, while emerging markets are the primary drivers of growth.
“There is a tremendous opportunity for increases in personal spending among the fast-growing middle class in emerging markets, and it’s creating a new population of shoppers,” said Glenn Rufrano, Cushman & Wakefield’s President and Chief Executive Officer.
The prospects for economic growth in emerging markets –where GDP growth is forecast to increase at a rate of 6.3 percent in 2012, compared to 2.1 percent GDP growth forecasted for mature economies – will drive the expansion of the middle class and increase private consumption. Per-capita income for emerging markets is expected to increase significantly between now and 2020, with a projected 200 percent increase for India and 125 percent increase for China, compared to about 20 percent for the UK and the US.
Similar to the performance of retail in mature and emerging markets, retail sales growth has shown both luxury and discount retailers performing strongly, while middle-market retailers have seen little growth. Emerging markets have shown a huge appetite for luxury goods, and discount retailers have performed well in mature markets, which have seen limited income growth and a shift in spending to needs rather than wants.
Online shopping and e-commerce are also playing a role in emerging markets, where the growing middle class is rapidly adopting new technologies. E-commerce is projected to grow 57.3 percent between 2011 and 2016 in India, as compared to a mature market like the US, with expected growth of just 11.2 percent.
“Across the board, retailers are changing their strategies and operating models, whether it’s embracing the high-tech shopper by combining in-store experiences with mobile shopping, developing omnichannel marketing campaigns or creating excitement with pop-up stores and social media,” said Mr. Rufrano.
Emerging markets are also attracting attention from investors. Globally, retail investment has recovered since reaching a bottom in 2009. While cap rates have remained largely flat for the past several years in Europe and the Americas, rates in emerging Asian markets declined significantly, reflecting the high desirability of the region and the lack of investment properties. Cross border investment activity has also increased, up 25 percent in 2011.
Retail investment continues to focus on gateway cities like Hong Kong, London, New York City and Tokyo. Similarly, gateway cities are commanding the highest retail rental rates, but the strongest growth has been in emerging markets. South America led retail rent growth last year in the Americas, and in Europe the strongest rental rate growth was in the emerging markets of Helsinki, Moscow, Tampere, St. Petersburg and Istanbul.