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What Role Will Bitcoin Play in the "Retail Apocalypse"?

Bricks and mortar shops began to struggle as soon as ecommerce started to gain traction. Today, online shopping has become the norm for many consumers. It is estimated that globally, over 1.9 billion people have made online purchases in 2019. Conversely, thousands of physical stores are experiencing a drop in sales, which has led to store closures and even bankruptcies. Analysts have coined this phenomenon the “retail apocalypse.” 
In this article, we will discuss this trend and the potential role that digital currencies could play in a predominantly digital retail market. 
What is the "retail apocalypse"?
The “retail apocalypse” refers to the close of physical stores in the U.S. (especially of larger chains) as a result of changing consumer behavior and the rise of ecommerce. 
The term “retail apocalypse” first appeared in 2017 following the closure of a large number of bricks and mortar stores by major retailers as well as several high-profile retail bankruptcies. 
Analysts at the investment bank UBS predict that an estimated 75,000 shops that sell consumer electronics, furniture, and clothing will close their doors by 2026. At that point, ecommerce is expected to make up around 25% of retail sales.
In the list of major retailers that have closed hundreds of physical stores reads like the who’s who of American retail. Radio Shack (1,470 store closures), Toys R Us (735 store closures), and GNC (700 store closures) are examples of retailers who have suffered as a result of the “retail apocalypse.” Since 2017, over 15,000 bricks and mortar shops have been closed, according to UBS. 
As the world goes digital, it is hard to envision a future where online shopping does not make up a majority of retail sales. Nationwide same-day drone delivery (and probably also returns) are estimated to become the norm while consumers are spending more time in front of screens than ever. 
The question for cryptocurrency advocates, users, and investors is whether decentralized digital currencies could end up as one of the major beneficiaries of the retail apocalypse or not.
Crypto and “retail apocalypse”?
Despite the many benefits that cryptocurrency has as an online payment system, bitcoin (BTC) has not managed to successfully penetrate the online retail market in the first decade of its existence. While there are several online retailers that accept bitcoin, the list is much shorter than the list of retailers who accept PayPal, for example.