Global forecasting company WGSN predicts that more Southeast Asian shoppers will return to physical stores, despite the continuing use of e-commerce or online stores by many consumers.
According to Jess Tang, WGSN Asia-Pacific senior consultant, private consumption in the region will still be booming with the retail and travel industry in the forefront after undergoing the challenges brought by the pandemic.
Tang added post-pandemic consumers are now more cautious when it comes to buying and will most likely maximize the ease in restrictions to find the best pieces at the most affordable price. This means physical stores are likely to see more foot traffic in the coming months as people take advantage of the opportunities to shop in person.
This trend is already being seen in Singapore, where a 2022 study from Sensormatic Solutions found three out of four buyers preferred shopping in physical stores. In Vietnam, Vincom, an operator, reported a 30% rise in foot traffic compared to August of last year.
Despite the trend towards physical shopping, online shopping will still remain resilient and will continue to grow in different regions. Many consumers can even seamlessly transition between physical and online stores, depending on their needs and preferences.
This shift towards physical shopping is a positive sign for the retail industry, which has been hit hard by the pandemic. The industry has been forced to adapt to the changing consumer behavior brought on by the pandemic, with many retailers investing heavily in their online presence to cater to the growing demand for e-commerce.
However, with restrictions easing and consumers becoming more confident in going out, physical stores are likely to see a resurgence. Retailers will need to ensure that their stores are safe and inviting for consumers to return, with measures such as social distancing, contactless payments, and enhanced cleaning protocols.