The coronavirus has burst into all sectors like a hurricane, although each business has its own particularities. In the case of real estate, much has been said about how the most demanded houses will be after the confinement, but we must also take into account other more professional aspects such as offices or logistics, or areas that we consider leisure, such as stores or malls. This way the new normality will affect those spaces that are not our home but that we manage daily.
Shopping centers, due to their size and their capacity to attract a large number of consumers, have been one of the real estate assets that have had to change their management the most. Although it is true that 100% of the shopping centers in Spain have reopened their doors, the limitations in the capacity and common spaces have changed significantly.
The most striking novelty in their reopening has been the numerous cleaning and maintenance measures to guarantee the correct hygiene and disinfection of the facilities. But in these months other structural changes have also taken place that were already in sight before covid-19 and that the pandemic has accelerated notably.
If there has been a time when we have valued the operation of the logistics sector has been, without doubt, the time of confinement. Whether it’s for exercise, teleworking or looking for new leisure activities, the number of online shoppers has grown more than noticeably, even in segments with little adherence to digital, such as the over-60s. So much so that, according to an IAB study, 70% or more of Spaniards in all age ranges have purchased some good or service online during their quarantine.
The online buying habits of the Spanish have varied not only in the percentage of online shoppers, but also in the products purchased, with the consequent general increase in Internet sales. This has made logistics a key activity for the survival of businesses, a trend that will continue in the current post-Covid era.
So how could the pandemic change the logistics sector? In the short term, it is clear that the situation requires companies to review their strategy and strengthen their supply chain and e-commerce channels in the face of other possible threats and disruptions. Meanwhile, in the long run, we can anticipate some additional and larger changes, which affect the very functioning of the supply chain and the logistics industry as such.
The pandemic will drive risk reduction strategies and lead companies to increase the resilience of their chains. “On the one hand, we could find that more products are manufactured in the country of origin of the marketing company. On the other hand, we anticipate a greater interest in local raw materials when supplying factories, as well as a diversification of supply sources for the chains,” explains JLL.
This could lead to an increase in the demand for industrial and logistics facilities at a regional level. However, it may also lead to a decrease in the volume of world trade, as well as in container flows in the main ports.
Therefore, the coronavirus will “undoubtedly” boost the sale and rental of modern, specialized and sustainable warehouses, with access to a good infrastructure (including electricity); those that are strategically located and that facilitate service to the main consumer (or industrial) markets; real estate located in places where supply is limited and assets that are well positioned to offer the last mile logistics service and that allow for the probable increase in online sales of perishable and non-perishable products.