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At the recent annual conference of the International Supply Chain Protection Organization (ISCPO), it was a great pleasure to deliver the latest edition of my continuously updated 'Disruptive Future of Retail' presentation. As it is top of mind for everyone, my opening remarks focused on supply chains and the growing global concerns with the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Timely to the conference was my last article, 'The Coronavirus and Its Predictable Future of Retail'. As I expressed to the audience, the end of the health crisis is uncertain but multiple historical lessons point to eventual retail recovery and stabilization. 

"By stimulating (more aggressive China) demand for online shopping, the outbreak has highlighted the broader need for traditional retailers to keep moving away from a reliance on brick-and-mortar stores to an omnichannel model." As my futuristic presentation explores, China on multiple levels was already leading retail disruption. COVID-19 will accelerate digital transformation trends to the rest of the world. 

This article summarizes just a few of the NEW charts from the 2020 edition of the Disruptive Future of Retail. 

The $30 Trillion Retail Opportunity

The retail apocalypse which surfaced as a trending term in 2017 was and remains hype. By 2023, the global retail industry will reach nearly $30 trillion with annual growth rates hovering around 4%+ per year. 


Prior to the COVID-19 news, all regions were projecting growth for both 2020 and 2021 with Asia leading the way. The weakest retail market remained Western Europe.  

Top 10 Retail Emerging Markets and Ecommerce Sales

A key driver of global retail growth is the expansion of the middle class in emerging markets. In 2019, the top 5 countries for global retail development were China, India, Malaysia, Ghana, and Indonesia. 


China ascent into becoming the world's largest retail market which was projected in 2019 was delayed first by the tariffs and now more than likely by COVID-19. By 2021, India organized retail will reach only 18% share of the market and because of its large population remains a major growth opportunity for global retail. 

Of interest is the accelerated adoption of ecommerce in multiple of these emerging markets. Note the percent in above chart on purchases online via mobile in the past month (January 2020). The smartphone which I listed as the third megatrend transforming retail and the number one disruptive technology of the last decade is a major platform that will accelerate modern retail into emerging markets. 

China Leads the USA in Ecommerce Growth

Ecommerce continues to grow worldwide. The surprise top four countries with highest online retail growth (15% to 20%) are China, UK, South Korea, and the Netherlands. 


Above chart reaffirms that stores are not going away. By 2030, ecommerce will represent 30% of global retail sales. This trend is reinforced in North America. By 2023, $4.32 trillion or 70% of the total will still be in physical retail stores. 


As demonstrated by the success of the Walmart Buy Online Pickup In-Store (BOPIS) strategy, physical stores are becoming a critical growth component of retail services. By 2023, 8% of ecommerce sales in North America will be fulfilled directly by physical stores. 

The Digital Transformation Wake-Up Call

A substantial portion of the discussion on the 'Disruptive Future of Retail' is dedicated the digital transformation trends underway for the global retail industry. The top 3 retailer strategic priorities for 2020 are personalizing the retail experience, inventory visibility, and empowering store associates.

Retailers are now aggressively embracing emerging technologies to achieve competitive advantage. For 2020 and beyond, much greater focus is on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (AI). 


The live presentation includes a review of the extensive innovation focus by Amazon and a visual summary on the growing deployments of autonomous stores. USA is actually behind countries like China in the rollout of cashier-less physical locations. 

The Disruptive Future of Retail

Three megatrends have transformed the retail industry post World War II. The pace of change is accelerating driven by the Internet of Things (IoT) and the explosion of mobile devices.

The millennials have taken over as the lead generation and they are digitally steering where retail goes next. Multiple retail success formulas are available through more harmonized retail models through digital transformation. 

What shoppers want will continue to change. At the intersection of artificial intelligence and computer vision are much more immersive consumer experiences. 

I typically conclude my presentation by looking to China and Singles Day. What started out as a college prank, grew in 2019 to a $38.4 billion in gross retail sales for Alibaba in just 24 hours. 


Note the comparison of Alibaba Singles Day gross sales to the entire USA Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday shopping weekend 2019.

All my presentations are a fast-paced multimedia visual immersion of the latest data and innovation brimming video examples from around the world. For ISCPO, I concluded with this digital transformation retail example from in China. 

My appreciation to the ISCPO audience for the very kind reception. Welcome to the disruptive $30 trillion global future of retail.

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