Dark store retail formats have continued to boom after lockdown driven by increased demand for “Q Commerce (quick commerce) capabilities”.
According to new data from OneStock just over two thirds (67 per cent) of consumers used dark store retail formats during the pandemic, with 84 per cent of respondents stating they will continue to do so post-pandemic.
So called dark stores saw adoption skyrocket during the pandemic as retailers transformed their closed retail stores into mini-fulfilment centres focused on fulfilling online orders.
“Born out of necessity during the pandemic, retailers are increasingly recognising that rethinking the role of the store is no longer a quick-fix, but the right approach in the long-term,” OneStock’s founder and chief executive Romulus Grigoras said.
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“The imperative to turn stores into mini-warehouses is supported by the fact that even large warehouses are not yet geared up for the huge growth in online orders and often have neither the staff nor the stock, let alone the systems to manage.”
Separate data from the Local Data Company has suggested that 8700 stores were closed on UK high streets during the first half of 2021, driving many to repurpose their estates.
Demand has largely been driven by millennial demographics, seeing 91 per cent of 25-44 year-olds say they will continue using dark store services.
It comes as warehouse space across the UK becomes increasingly scarce, with retailers including Amazon announcing it is “running out of available space”.