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COVID-19 took the world by storm at the beginning of 2020, leaving many industries at a huge loss. The retail sector was one of the hardest hit, and for a while, the future of the industry looked dire. Over a year after the world first stopped, the effects of the ongoing pandemic are still being felt; however, retail Australia has a promising outlook for 2022. 

How COVID-19 affected the industry. 

The retail industry had to make changes and diversify quickly, which ended up leading to a boom in the retail e-commerce sector that continued after the initial effects of COVID-19 subsided. This shift saw online retail transactions grow by 57%, and this growth is expected to continue strong in 2022 and beyond. 

Unexpected benefits: Increased industry growth. 

Retail Australia’s recovery is on track, and many aspects of the industry are expected to increase and even exceed pre-COVID levels. Online retail sales for 2022 are expected to be higher than the pre-COVID trajectory. With e-commerce expected to continue growing, the sector is set to increase to $21.7 billion AUD by the end of 2022, when previously at only $13.9 billion AUD in 2017

Despite the previously dire outlooks for the retail industry, traditional retail within Australia managed to increase from the previous year. Consumer spending within the retail industry in March 2021 had either recovered or exceeded the previous consumer spending from February 2020. Although the clothing and apparel industry dropped almost 54% in the height of the pandemic, this industry has been continuously and swiftly recovering, with a growth rate of over 125% a few months later. 

2022: Retail Australia looks promising.

Even though the pandemic hit retail Australia hard, the industry found ways to continue its business around the pandemic. The retail industry utilised this obstacle in a way that allowed it to stay resilient and responsive to change, as well as continue looking at ways to innovate and better business. These effects have been continued after the height of the pandemic, and the 2022 outlook for Retail Australia creates promising prospects for the industry to continue recovering and booming. 

Michele Jordaan
Author: Michele Jordaan