eCommerce slows down international retail expansion

eCommerce slows down international retail expansion
TungCheung /

Retailers are still looking for growth across borders, with Asia a particular interest to many. Nevertheless, high eCommerce investments have slowed down the international expansion, according to real estate consultant CBRE's "How Global is the Business of Retail?"'s report.

Hong Kong most appealing

The annual study, in its 9th edition, analyzes 334 international retailers' activities in 61 countries. In their quest for expansion, retailers target "established" shopping cities, according to the study. In at least 90 % of the cities, at least 1 new retailer appeared in 2015 (compared to 85 % of cities in 2014). 30 % of all markets in the study welcomed at least 10 new retailers.

The top 20 of most popular cities for new retailers did feature some new cities: Asia is still the most important region in the top 10, with four of the five most attractive markets. Hong Kong was the most appealing market in 2015, with 73 new retail brands. Singapore is second with 63 newcomers, followed by Tokyo (57), Taipei (47), Moscow (40), London (39), Dubai (38), Beijing (37), Bucharest (35) and Doha (29).

London is still the most international shopping city in the world, followed by Dubai, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Paris and Tokyo.


Safeguard the right mixture

CBRE expects international retailers' attention to shift to growing cities in Africa and Latin America, especially if the economic situation in the East changes. Established markets like Germany, the United Kingdom, France, the United States and China seems to get priority over others, with retailers choosing a certainty over a gamble.

International expansion is also slowing down slightly, a trend CBRE attributes to the fact many retailers have invested more in eCommerce platforms and multichannel environments. Retailers are looking at their store portfolio more diligently and are safeguarding the right mixture of locations. They will consider new formulas, like airport stores or stores in train stations.


Shopping centers are also key for retailers looking to enter new markets. These will have to reposition themselves, in order to shift their focus to food, leisure or lifestyle.