Forrester has published a new report which forecast that global retail sales will drop by US$2.1 trillion in 2020.

China is the worst affected country in the Asia Pacific region, with US$192 billion of retail sales (excluding restaurants, automobile, and gasoline) lost from January to February 2020 as compared to the same period in 2019. We expect a drop of $658 billion for the full year of 2020 when compared to 2019, equaling a 14.7% decline in retail sales.

The report, which uses forecast modelling to identify the long- and short-term impact of COVID-19 on retail, also reveals:

  • Global offline sales of nonessential items will contract by -20% in 2020
  • Online sales will remain flat in 2020 compared to 2019, and an average of US$360 billion in online retail sales will be lost globally in 2020 compared to Forrester’s pre-COVID-19 forecasts
  • It will take four years for retailers to overtake pre-pandemic levels
  • The likelihood is that the epidemic will last seven months, and from 2021 retail categories that have declined by more than 10% will only bounce back to 90% of pre-pandemic spend

Additional APAC highlights include:

  • Impact on India and Japan to be severe due to the strict lockdown in India, the declaration of a state of emergency in Japan, and the postponement of the 2020 Summer Olympics
  • In Australia, retail sales saw a surge of 0.5% in February 2020 as a result of the combination of panic buying when the COVID-19 outbreak started in March and a flattening of the curve in April

For more information, please see refer to this full press release. Senior Forecast Analyst Satish Meena and Senior Analyst Xiaofeng Wang are also available to comment about retail in China and Asia Pacific.