Covid-19 spurred consumers to change the way they shop, with many opting to go online rather than in store, especially at the start of the pandemic.
E-commerce sales surged to a record 15.7% of total U.S. retail receipts in mid-2020, and while they’ve come slightly off that peak as shoppers return to brick-and-mortar stores, they remain elevated, Commerce Department data show.
U.S. retailers have responded by accelerating their investments in warehouses to store the wares that get sold on their websites amid record spending by homebound consumers, some of whom had more to spend because of stimulus checks. Such is demand for logistics centers that prices for industrial space outgained offices and apartments for most of 2021.
Pandemic-era warehouse purchases by the five biggest retailers on the S&P 500 index are three times the number in the corresponding prior period, with online behemoth Amazon.com snapping up the lion’s share of 21 facilities compared with four before.
That’s according to data compiled by Reonomy, a New York-based analytics company specializing in commercial property data.