The most challenging retail markets

A new study of British retailers has revealed that the US remains the hardest market to crack, despite the wealth of opportunities available in the country.

Retailers looking to expand overseas often face the hardest challenges of all businesses in acclimatising to new areas, with the consumer-facing outlets frequently having to adapt their offerings to suit the regional economy. On top of the bureaucratic hassle and compliance issues of moving into a new market, retailers can come unstuck on the shop floor itself, with consumers proving the most difficult component to please.

Recent research by Barclays shows that 46% of British retailers believe the US is the hardest market in which to achieve commercial success, despite being the current destination choice of many expanding businesses. China came second with one-third of retailers saying they had experienced difficulties when trying to set up shop and Asian countries in general cited as particularly challenging.

But there are significant reasons why retailers are considering moving overseas. Between 2012 and 2016 total UK retail spend is expect to grow by around 11.5% to £345.6 billion. But this figure is dwarfed by markets such as the US and China, where the figure is expected to hit £2.3 trillion and £3.6 trillion respectively. Russia and Brazil also enjoy standout growth predictions over the next five years, with 68% expected in Russia and 49% projected in Brazil.

Africa remains one of the final frontiers for retail, but the recent acquisition of South Africa’s Massmart shows how seriously global retailers are now taking the continent. Nearly a quarter of retailers surveyed said that Africa will be the new retail growth story within a decade, with 53% of those currently doing business in Africa citing South Africa as their top market. 

 
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