Thought Leadership and Programming by The Innovation Village

Background

Retail involves all kinds of businesses that sell product directly to the final consumer. Retail trade plays an important role in Uganda’s economy contributing an average of 18% to GDP in the last decade and employing about 16% of the country’s total labor force. This therefore means that any disruptions in the sector leads to disproportionate employment consequences. The sector also relies on low-wage and part-time, on-call and gig workers that are not well-covered by traditional social protection measures, which further strengthens the social consequences of any crisis in this sector.

Uganda’s retailers face a host of challenges. Even before the pandemic, many brick-and-mortar retailers had multiple challenges ranging from market imposed bottlenecks to disruption due to technology. Now, as we emerge from the liminal space of nationwide lockdowns into new psychological and social territory, shoppers will be anxious about whether visiting stores will increase their exposure to the virus. In addition, the Ugandan economy has shrunk, which will dampen consumer spending for months to come. While the global retail industry was already suffering disruption and has seen a quick shift in consumer behavior, the Ugandan retail space has remained quite traditional. Dominated by trade of general merchandise and apparel, Uganda’s retail industry is now faced with uncertainty as the country begins to rebuild.

The Innovation Village (TIV) has undertaken research in the various regions in the country in which it has presence. We sought to understand the factors that will drive the future of retail and what the landscape will look like in the next decade. This research will be published on Thursday 5th November 2020 in a report that includes results of surveys done. The surveys systematically explored COVID19’s impact in the following areas:

  • Business processes
  • Financial impact (cash flow, revenues, costs) on business operations
  • Innovation and adaptation (digitization, supply chains, product/service delivery)
  • Impact of Recovery and Relief measures
  • Future expectations
  • Suggestions for longer term sustainable economic development and business resilience

Our Approach

Desktop Research

All the assumptions, conclusions and assertions have been supported by secondary data collected through desk research performed by our Innovation Strategy and Consulting Team.

Field surveys

The survey was based on a nationally representative sample of 900 retailers using both an online web form and physical field surveys. The physical surveys were done in Kampala, Jinja, Mbarara and Gulu.

Data Analytics

The data collected by the field team was analyzed by our Technology and Data team to provide insights of key trends and predictions..

One on One Spotlight Interviews

Our team carried out interviews with key players we believe are shaping the future of retail including representatives from Stanbic Bank, Safeboda, Rocket Health, Signum Advocates etc.

Internal Reviews

The report was compiled and underwent internal development, review and design for quality assurance purposes.

Public Launch

The Innovation Strategy and Consulting Team invites stakeholders, key retail players and partners for the launch of the Future of Retail Thought Leadership report on Thursday 5th November, 2020.

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Key Findings

Trends

COVID-19 has exposed the weak links within the retail sector. The future of retail trade post COVID-19 will be determined through the new normal as characterized by trends such as;

Diversification of the supply chain

Digital transformation

Business resilience & sustainability

These emerging trends have spawned new opportunity spaces within;

Warehousing

Online/ digital business

Logistics

Import substitution

The gig economy

Business Development Support

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Thought Leadership and Programming by The Innovation Village

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