COVID-19 has forced retailers around the world to adjust their operations and rethink strategy. National U.S. retailers, such as Macy’s and Gap. saw their sales drop up to 50% in the first quarter of 2020 because of stores forced into COVID closures. Conversely, online shopping is up 31% YoY. In the first month and a half of lockdowns, e-commerce platform Shopify reported a 62% increase in first-time users. After the initial COVID shock wore off, April and May saw an increase in overall spending YoY.
People are still shopping, but they are shopping differently. So now pop-ups are being re imagined, playing a different role. Short-term pop-up shops have long served as testing grounds for brands to experiment with and tap new audiences. Now they have a role to return confidence for consumers in the physical shopping experience.
A flood of retail space is now becoming available globally, and landlords are desperate to fill their empty units. Appear Here, an online marketplace for retail space covering the US, the UK and France, saw an increase of 125 per cent in available retail space listed between June to August. “There were a huge amount of vacancies,” says Ross Bailey, founder and chief executive. It adds up to a buyer’s market for retailers and brands — which is why low-budget, short-term, quick-install pop-ups are set to surge back in the coming months.