Department store and mall owners have been positive towards ‘digitization’, ‘contactless payments’ and ‘sustainability’ in company filings, with discussions around mobile payments and digital growth having grown in 2020 earnings transcripts compared to 2019, reveals GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
GlobalData’s Filing Analytics platform identified that earnings transcript mentions of mobile payments and sustainability increased over five-fold in 2020 compared to 2019, while digital mentions grew by over 15% in the same period. Even in the ‘new normal’ malls continue to face hardships with several countries under prolonged lockdowns. Declining foot traffic forced companies to go digital by launching virtual malls and driving contactless payments.
Rinaldo Pereira, senior business fundamentals analyst at GlobalData, says: “In the face of several hiccups, continued digitization, contactless payments and omnichannel seem to be the most viable option for department stores to overcome prolonged distress in the ‘new normal’. According to GlobalData, m-commerce is likely to surpass the value of desktop/laptop e-commerce by 2022, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 18% between 2019 and 2024.”
Pereira adds: “Mentions of mobile payments in earnings transcripts reached 169 in 2020, while sustainability mentions rose 91 in the same year. In fact, sustainability also gained customer traction during 2020, with around 36% of consumers surveyed by GlobalData noting they are interested in news around brand sustainability.”
The e-commerce boom during the COVID-19 era has also been a threat to brick and mortar department stores, with customers considering online shopping as more sustainable due to lockdowns.
Pereira concludes: “With customer behaviour likely altered forever due to the COVID-19 pandemic, omnichannel and tech innovations will be key for mall operators to bring back customers and avoid bankruptcies. Online and offline merchandise integration coupled with the use of augmented and virtual reality is likely to drive foot traffic for malls of the future.”