Amazon’s newest distribution center? (Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)
The pandemic turbocharged sales for ecommerce companies.
That’s the 1st-order effect.
So — like the high-minded business publication we are — we have to ask: “What are the 2nd-order effects?”
To facilitate all of these juicy onlines sales…
… warehouse space is being snapped up at a blistering pace. According to The Economist, leases for new logistic spaces are up big in Europe (+16% YoY), America (+21%), and Asia (+32%).
Ecomm players of all types — from supermarkets to medical suppliers to D2C shopping — are getting in on the action.
Interestingly, online retail requires 3x the space of brick and mortar, because shoppers expect more options.
This is leading to a 3rd-order effect
The value of warehouses is booming, with logistics making up 20% of real estate investments in 2020 (vs. 10% in 2015).
The boom is running into a land supply problem, per The Economist:
- Industrial land has been turned into residential land in major cities
- Restrictive zoning laws prevent the conversion of large existing lots like shopping malls
- The public is averse to large warehouses, which are perceived as noisy and dirty
To cope, companies are getting creative: Amazon is turning golf courses in America into distribution centers and an empty car lot in the UK into a delivery hub.
We think it’s safe to call that one a 4th-order effect.