- The rise of e-commerce has seen the emergence of a new asset class
- Data centres, warehouses, logistics and remote operations have boomed
- The pandemic only accelerated the trend
With the creation of the internet thirty or so years ago, came many slow-moving disruption trends that have touched all corners of the globe, industry and our lives in general.
The rise of the ‘dotcoms’ in the 1990s brought with them the need to distribute goods that were bought online, which had hitherto been the domain of print ads and mail order catalogues.
This business remained fairly niche compared to the regular bricks and mortar shops for a decade or more. However, over the past few years, big data, analytics, cloud computing and fast computers able to process huge amounts of information in milliseconds has heralded the rise of the data centre (DC), with its side kick, warehousing.
If you need to create, store and move a lot of data, you’ll need data centres in your town or city. If you need to move a lot of product, you’ll need warehouses and a whole swathe of logistics and remote operations capability.
Suddenly – it would seem – ‘unsexy’ is cool. Large buildings with lots of stuff and blinking lights in them are hot.
Perhaps you’ve noticed these as you drive around? Trendy box-type buildings, several floors high, now adorn the cityscape, screaming out their brands with trendy luminescent signs.
Often, they have cropped up in industrial centres, alongside immense warehouses with Aus Post and other delivery trucks zipping in and out several times a day.
Perhaps this is the dotcom dream we all dreamt back in the 1990s, now made good in the 2020s.
In their Global Property Securities 2021 Outlook, First Sentier described this phenomenon as a ‘megatrend’.
It’s perhaps an asset class now worth more serious consideration. After all, handing out shovels during the gold rush is not bad business.