Swiss retail trade will scratch the 100 billion mark in 2020

Zurich - Cooking, gardening and working at home: During the lockdown, the population stocked up on things like groceries, potting soil or screens and ordered a lot online. The local retailers barely missed the 100 billion mark.

Last year, the Swiss retail trade achieved a total turnover of 99.1 billion francs and grew by 2.4 percent. The Swiss retailers have never come so close to the 100 billion mark, the market research company GfK announced on Wednesday at its retail conference. Above all, the pandemic acted as an accelerator.

Cooking at home gives grocery stores a boost

Certain markets could have benefited greatly from the restrictions of the pandemic. The closings in restaurants, for example, ensured that, according to GfK's analysis, the grocery stores were among the big winners because people cooked at home instead of going to restaurants. The local shops were also helped by the fact that the Swiss were unable to stock up on groceries abroad during the pandemic.

The fact that many people had to set up an office at home or spent their free time playing games in front of the PC also had an effect on retailers: In the non-food sector, home electronics were in great demand, as it is called. But handicrafts and gardening were also popular, as demonstrated by increasing sales in the do-it-yourself market.

In addition, some apartments were refreshed last year, and furniture and furnishings shops were booming. And the children were kept busy with new toys at home, which was reflected in increasing sales in toy stores.

Skis and clothes as losers

But there were also losers in the pandemic. For example, the sporting goods market has stagnated, as GfK notes. This is primarily due to the winter sports industry, which was severely affected by the closings in the ski areas, as the sporting goods industry complained at the beginning of the year.

But clothing stores also suffered significant losses. Instead of going out in a new dress, in 2020 watching TV on the sofa in old training pants was more popular.

Return to normal at the end of the year

According to GfK's assessment, the purchasing behavior of the Swiss population should normalize again in the fourth quarter of the current year. Then it would be possible to travel normally again and shop in foreign countries near the border, they say. Overall, according to GfK, sales should develop steadily for the year as a whole.

However, some shopping behaviors, which have intensified during the pandemic, are likely to be retained by consumers. In a survey, a third of consumers stated that they would like to make more use of home delivery in retail outlets in the future. In addition, two thirds of those surveyed said they had shopped online in the last week.

In other areas, however, there is also a counter-trend: the physical experience of shopping is becoming more important again. According to the survey, three out of four consumers want to buy more in stores again in the future.

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