The world’s “digital-native” retailers – newer retailers that initially operated exclusively online – are set to more than double their share of the industry’s revenues by 2030 and triple their share of profits, analysis by Boston-based Bain & Co. has found. However, a focus on profitability, scale and new revenue sources is set to drive a growing convergence between old and new retail players, according to Bain’s “The Future of Retail: The Age of Convergence” report.
According to Bain & Co., retail ecosystem players, such as Amazon, and other online marketplaces, gained considerable momentum over the past decade, capturing about 60% of global retail growth between 2013 and 2021. Its report also found that this trend will continue, with digital-native retailers set to more than double their revenue share from 15% to 35% by 2030 as loss-making retailers fail and disappear from the playing field.
Bain concluded, however, that the fastest phase of growth for digital-first retailers looks likely to be over, as investors expect basic profitability from these businesses and past ample funding dries up. Traditional retailers, meanwhile, will increasingly provide stiffer competition as they continue to invest in digital capabilities and platforms.
The Bain study found that competition for an omnichannel advantage is driving a convergence in both talent and strategy between traditional retailers and digital insurgents. By 2030, Bain predicted that half of retail profits will come from new “beyond trade” revenue sources, including third-party marketplace activity, data monetization (encompassing digital advertising), businesses-to-business services, and consumer financial services. By comparison, traditional retail activities, including the sale of goods, are unlikely to drive even modest profit growth in the years to come.
As a result, retailers are upping their investments in digital, just as digital retailers are looking to acquire brick-and-mortar storefronts. The search for capital to support these transformations will encourage a new wave of deals as retailers look to scale rapidly.