A Retail Apocalypse?

According to new independent SaaS and SMB industry research from GetApp, reported by Rhian Davies, most stores will shut up shop and go online only within 10 years, a retail apocalypse.

Likelihood Of Elimination Of Physical Store Within 10 Years


% of Respondents

Extremely likely








Extremely unlikely


Source: GetApp Research, May 2017

Two out of three business owners who currently run both an online and physical store believe that they will close their physical store’s doors within ten years and operate their business solely online, according to new research conducted by GetApp.

Earlier this year it was reported that the ‘retail apocalypse’ had officially hit the United States, with more than 3,500 stores including well-known brands such as JCPenney, Kmart, and Abercrombie & Fitch reportedly closing their doors early this year, says the report. Macy’s, one of the United States’ largest department stores, reported that they are going to close almost 100 stores, equating to almost 15% of its store base.

Additionally, at this year’s Berkshire Hathaway meeting says the report, Warren Buffett declared that the department store is now online, referring to the perceptible rate that stores are turning away from the traditional brick-and-mortar model of retail to focus on their online eCommerce stores.

The report says that it appears that business owners who run both models of store are prepared, or are at least aware, that the ‘retail apocalypse’ trend could affect their future sales strategy.

Key Findings says the report:

  • Of the business owners who run both an online and physical store, almost two thirds said that it is either likely or extremely likely that they will close their physical stores and operate their business fully online within the next ten years.
  • Only 4.4% of business owners think that it is extremely unlikely that they will only operate an online business within the next ten years.
  • Just over 17% of business owners remain neutral about the possibility of closing their physical stores.

Study Demographics:Over 200 US-based business respondents, who run both an online and physical store. Respondents are all aged over 18 and have an average inferred annual income of $24k – $150k.

For additional information and data from GetApp, please visit here.

2 comments about "A Retail Apocalypse?".
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  1. Keith Huntoon from LiftEngine, June 8, 2017 at 2:31 p.m.

    'Online only' sounds great, but there are significant quesitons I'd have on an SMB retail business owner considering shuttering retail.  How are they going to differentiate?  How will the shift to voice assisted search impact their SEM plans, budget and effectiveness? How will they compete with Amazon, Jet, etc?  How will they build a loyal customer willing to pay a bit more for their products?  While retail is challenged, my belief is there is value to a local retailer in providing the ability to touch and feel products, exhibit expertise, build a relationship with the community, etc.  I love Amazon and shopping online, but I also appreciate many retail experiences. Unless you have a unique product, 'Online only' is the quickest way to become a commodity and get eaten by Amazon. 

  2. Jack Loechner from Mediapost Communications replied, June 12, 2017 at 1:31 a.m.

    I ask all those questions myself keith, but my job is to present the research as it's reported without editorizing... perhaps GetApp would like to get involved... sorry, j

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