Covid, Brexit transform e-industry as warehouse numbers boom - report
Booming online shopping, with the addition of Covid and Brexit, means demand for UK warehousing and transport systems has increased by 88% over the past decade and is 21% higher than in 2019, a new report by The Office for National Statistics (ONS) claims.
The rise since 2019 has far outstripped the increase in business units across all industries, which only went up by 1%, the report noted.
Business like Amazon, ASOS, JD Sports, Boohoo, M&S and more rely on warehouses to store and process their goods and as their sales rise, they need more space than ever. Orders for new warehouses have also risen to the highest level since 1985, the report said.
Online shopping as a proportion of all purchases surged during the pandemic, hitting 38% at the start of last year. And though it has since slipped back to 28% that compares to 8% at the start of 2011 and 19% just before the first lockdown.
That has spurred new orders for the building of warehouses, which were worth £5.6 billion in 2021 — higher than in any year since 1985, the ONS said.
Job ads in logistics and warehousing have also risen substantially since the start of the pandemic, according to the report.
The ONS said that as well as Covid-19, the trends could also “partly reflect changes initiated by coronavirus restrictions or supply chain adjustments made after [the] EU exit”.
The figures also revealed that while the number of transport and storage hubs had been growing sharply, the number of retail premises were only up by 11% over the past decade and by 3% over the past two years.
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