In the past year retailers faced some strong economic headwinds against the backdrop of an unpredictable virus and its resurging variants. And yet retailers remained resilient and managed to grow in these unprecedented times and were able to respond to consumer expectations.
Deloitte’s Global Powers of Retailing 2022 report reviews the global economic scenario and its impact on the retailing industry. The report identifies the 250 largest retailers around the world based on publicly available data for FY2020 (financial years ending within the 12 months from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021), and analyzes their performance across geographies and product sectors. It also provides a global economic outlook, looks at the fastest-growing retailers, and highlights new entrants to the Top 250. This year’s report also offers an assessment of retailers’ rising sustainability efforts.
Despite the many challenges retailers faced in 2021, the top 250 managed to outpace the previous year in all key growth metrics. In fact, the top 10 retailers saw double-digit growth and even welcomed an entrant from China for the first time ever. And despite the economic churn and uncertainty, retailers were able to ramp up their efforts to better meet the marketplace demand for more sustainable practices and products.
A driving factor for retailers continued to be e-commerce, with consumers still opting to shop from home due to the pandemic. The importance of online capabilities was a contributing factor for this year’s first-ever Chinese top 10 retailer, which also was listed as one of the year’s top 10 fastest-growing retailers. Other key factors in retailer growth were rapid organic store expansion and increased M&A activity.
Not surprisingly, the fast-moving consumer goods sector made up the largest share of the Top 250 retailers as grocers continued to benefit from stores remaining open throughout lockdowns. Some of the most successful retailers in the past year were grocers who also had a large digital footprint.
Also experiencing strong growth, hardlines and leisure goods was the most profitable sector in FY2020 and recorded the highest year-on-year retail revenue growth rate. With less travel and more time spent at home, consumers looked to these products to refresh personal spaces and provide entertainment in and out of doors.
The diversified products group recorded the second highest year-on-year retail revenue growth rate after hardlines and leisure goods, with e-commerce being a significant driver among the largest retailers in this sector. And though apparel and accessories retailers took a hit in FY2020, there are signs of this sector rebounding.
With 55% of consumers stating they had purchased a sustainable product or service in the past 4 weeks, this year’s report also takes a look at how retailers globally are tackling sustainable and responsible growth. Almost all the retailers in the Top 250 have outlined their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) commitments and are publishing ESG-related metrics. The sustainability credentials of their products, as well as their overall brand, are a core part of retailer’s business strategy targeting Millennial and Generation Z customers.
Read the section on sustainability in the Global Powers of Retailing 2022 report to further explore industry CxO responses and retailer’s efforts around sustainability.
The Global Powers of Retailing 2021 report provides a critical snapshot of where retail has been—and where it is heading. And with the global pandemic continuing to disrupt economies, anticipating customer needs has never been more critical.
Those retailers that can get consumers what they want, where they want it, and when they want it will be the ones that continue to win.
– Evan Sheehan, Deloitte Global Retail Leader