Since the outbreak of Covid-19, global economies have been disrupted and consumer behavior has shifted drastically. Consumers’ priorities changed and many were refrained from going out because of the movement restrictions in many countries. For the retail sector, this resulted in a range of consequences, highly dependent on the sub-sector. For example, grocery retail is experiencing a major spike in demand while the current operating model is evolving to address this surge in demand. On the other hand, non-essential retail such as fashion is facing a tough time as a result of the lockdown.
As a result of the outbreak and subsequent movement restrictions, many governments responded and intervened with injections of billions of dollars to reduce the economic damage to businesses most impacted by the crisis. Saudi Arabia, a country where the retail sector employs around 2 million people and contributes 14 percent to the GDP, allocated $40bn in efforts to provide relief and support to the private sector. The government also committed to pay up to 60 percent of the salaries of Saudi employees in the private sector for the duration of three months, as a job retention scheme to support the hard-hit industries.
Throughout the pandemic, retail learned five important lessons that are discussed in this article.
Manager Consumer & Retail, Global Strategy Group
KPMG in Saudi Arabia