Digitalisation in the German retail sector

An analysis of retailers in the seven most important shopping locations

February 15, 2021

The attractiveness of city centres is heavily dependent on a vibrant retail sector, but this has been facing increasing competition for a long time now. Whilst the last few decades had seen a boom in shopping centres which had attracted many customers away from the city centres and shopping streets, it is now the virtual reach of online retail which is driving a shift in demand. As JLL’s regular footfall analyses show, Germany’s prime retail locations have so far managed to withstand the competition. In addition to the disruptive influence of internet-based retail and the structural transformations in consumer behaviour, the current Covid-19 pandemic is adding to the concerns facing the high street segment. Whilst the non high street relevant retail warehouses such as supermarkets, DIY stores and furniture stores are experiencing significant growth, fashion stores will be struggling to cover their rental payments this year.

Bricks-and-mortar retail will have to adapt to the competition from online shopping, the effects of the pandemic and the resulting change in customer expectations from both sets of circumstances in order to remain an attractive proposition. This applies to both the large retail chains and local retailers alike. It is not only the location of a shop which will determine the future but also the online and mobile visibility of the retailer amongst its potential customers. The way in which the retailer accompanies and retains its clientele throughout the entire customer journey will be equally important in future.