The global environment in which we live is changing quickly. The COVID-19 surge in e-commerce is over and is followed by a memorable e-commerce dip. As consumer confidence is eroded away by high inflation and increasing interest rates, several major economies, such as the US, went already into recession. More economies are expected to follow. Due to the Russo-Ukrainian war, energy price inflation expanded to other categories quickly. Central banks race to set these off by further interest hikes.
The tech industry responded firmly to the recession expectations. Many North American companies like Netflix and Shopify fired significant numbers of staff quickly. Their investors demand a path to profitability.
Is the tech party over like in 2001 after the dotcom crash? Or is a more serious stagflation scenario – high inflation coupled with a stagnating economy – reviving our memories of the crippling 70s? The 70s in which high oil prices led to high inflation, high-interest rates, high unemployment, and subsequently something like a “lost decade” or a “lost generation.” One difference is that the central banks are very much aware of their responsibility to quell high inflation. Another major difference is that unemployment in the US, the Netherlands, and a number of other key Western markets is historically low. This makes it easier to make unpopular political decisions that improve the prospects of a fast recovery.
Historical low consumer confidence polls make it likely that the e-commerce industry is also hurt. Even despite the long trend from offline to online retail. As e-commerce stocks were receding strongly already in 2021, the call for black figures might resound louder and louder. This leads to healthy rationalization and consolidation, which leads to investing in efficiency rather than growth. Efficient solutions for product data, payment, ordering, and delivery will win. Letting go of staff eases the tensions in labor markets. Labor that is more productive elsewhere.
Read further: News, ecommerce, rationalization, stagflation
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