Two Brick-and-Mortar Sectors That Are Embracing Online Services

Two Brick-and-Mortar Sectors That Are Embracing Online Services

Over the past 20 years we have seen a significant shift in consumer spending habits away from brick-and-mortar locations and towards online services. Certain sectors have, in the wake of this shifting appetite, evolved with the prevailing conditions and have sought to reinvent themselves as online services. Others, either through a failure to innovate, or due to limitations imposed by the nature of their industry, have increasingly begun to fall by the wayside.

Let’s take a look at two leading examples of sectors that have become pioneers in the process of digital transformation.


One key sector that has found significant benefits in pivoting towards online spaces is that of gaming in its many forms. Alongside shopping malls, amusement arcades became a ubiquitous part of everyday life in the 1980s and 90s.

Large arcades such as SegaWorld, London’s 1990s video game theme-park, represented the pinnacle of coin-op gaming experiences; with early VR rigs rubbing shoulders with competitive classics, dancing titles, first person shooters and racing sims.

Yet the writing was already on the wall for the arcade in the 90s, as the performance of home games consoles began to match or exceed what could be found in leading venues. Nowadays arcades do survive, especially in East Asia where they enjoy more sustained popularity, but have largely fallen away in the same wave of redevelopment that resulted in many malls down-sizing or closing-up entirely in the West.

closing-up entirely in the West

Now, gamers are overwhelmingly more likely to play online-optimized video games from the comfort of their own homes, with leading titles such as Fortnite and Call of Duty: Warzone shifting consumer preferences towards so-called ‘live service’ experiences.

Likewise, we’ve seen a similar picture impact the casino gaming sector. While brick-and-mortar gaming establishments in cities such as Las Vegas and Macau are as popular as ever, the arrival of online iGaming in the late 90s opened up the thrills of classic table games to whole new audiences out of reach of these traditional casino bastions.

Now gaming aficionados make the most of leading comparison platforms across the world, such as which furnishes Kiwi players with a comprehensive break-down of the best online casinos available to them.

Platforms such as this represent meaningful savings over their physical equivalents also, as the sign-up bonuses and welcome promotions offered by them markedly out-compete the kind of deals brick-and-mortar casinos, with their running costs, are capable of delivering to their patrons.

Commerce and Retail

There’s no denying that in 2022, the world eCommerce market commands the largest share of retail revenue of any associated sector, and the reasons for why this is not difficult to unpack.

It is estimated that there are between 12 and 24 million individual businesses plying their trade online today. One need only compare that with the 100-odd stores available on their high-street to see that online commerce intrinsically represents greater choice for consumers.

Access to specialized goods once necessitated physically travelling to a large city in order to seek out the supplier of the products you needed – something compounded in difficulty if you were coming from a rural setting.

Now those same consumers can access leading global providers of the products they seek, from anywhere in the world. And it’s not just with respect to specialist shopping that customers find benefits in opting for online.

The largest physical department stores, such as Walmart, typically stock something in the region of 120,000 distinct products. While this is certainly impressive, it pales in comparison to the 12 million offered online by Amazon and other eCommerce giants.

Following the disruptive and unprecedented events of the early 2020s, the online commercial sector experienced the fastest growth in its history, with eCommerce sales worldwide ballooning from $3.5 trillion in 2019 to $5.7 today as shown in Statista.

Yet this merely accelerated a process that has been underway ever since access to the internet became a regular household utility. Developments in delivery infrastructure, as epitomized by Amazon’s Prime subscription service, mean that it’s often now quicker and cheaper to shop online than head to the nearest store, with same day delivery guaranteed on thousands of unique products.

Now, with the case for physical retail diminishing so significantly, our town centers have begun to transform, with the food and beverage sector eagerly buying up struggling store-fronts and impacting the way these hubs are utilized.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.