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E-commerce to result in record industrial leasing demand for 2021

A record year of leasing demand is expected across industrial markets in 2021, underpinned by the continued growth of e-commerce, which will bolster warehouse demand.

Colliers' latest Industrial Research and Forecast report found leasing demand for industrial property is expected to accelerate in 2021, as economic conditions pick up and businesses have more clarity around the impacts of COVID-19 on their operations.

“The early signs of market recovery are starting to appear – business and consumer sentiment has rebounded, the labour market looks to have stabilised and consumer consumption is improving,” said Malcom Tyson, Managing Director, Industrial at Colliers.

“Online retail sales have grown by over 80% in the year to August 2020 which is the highest annual growth on record. This has translated into strong growth for warehouse demand as ‘pure-play’ online groups and retailers look to bolster their fulfilment capabilities.”

“Looking ahead, online retail is expected to further increase in popularity as consumers embrace online shopping platforms.” 

“We are forecasting online retail spend to total circa $58 billion by the end of 2022, which would translate into warehouse demand of around 2.7 million sqm between now and then from e-commerce alone, based on experience from the US.”

David Hall, National Director, Industrial at Colliers said “The continued take up of e-commerce is underpinning the Australian industrial market and will continue to drive leasing demand in 2021.”

“Over 1 million sqm of space has been leased across the western Sydney industrial and logistics market in 2020 so far, and we anticipate this to increase next year.”

“Demand is expected to be led by pre-commitments as occupiers focus on improving efficiencies through automation and scale.; take-up activity in Sydney has been strongest within the Outer West submarket, buoyed by the 200,000 sqm Amazon pre-commitment within the Oakdale West Estate.”

Luke Crawford, Associate Director, Research at Colliers said “The growth of online retail continues to support leasing demand with several significant pre-lease deals being recorded in 2020 and we expect demand from these occupiers to gather pace.”

“More broadly, occupiers are taking longer to commit to new or expansionary space as they look to better understand the longer-term economic impacts on their business.” 

“Looking ahead, activity is expected to pick-up over the next six months with a sharp increase in tenant enquires being recorded over the past month.”

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Malcom Tyson

Chief Executive Officer | Australia


Malcom is the Chief Executive Officer for Colliers in Australia, delivering on our business plan and driving our enterprising culture. Our company is underpinned by a clear set of values, designed to maximise the potential of property to accelerate the success of our clients and our people.  

Over his 27-year career with Colliers, Malcom has had the opportunity to build and grow a number of successful teams. Prior to his current role, he led the NSW business along with the national Industrial business for 15 years. In 2005, Malcom joined the National Executive where the leadership group has steered our business to achieve incredible growth and reinforced our market-leading culture. Our business stability and continuity continue to attract market leaders, empowering them to think and act differently to drive exceptional results.  

Colliers has an enterprising culture which underpins our strategy for success. The business has won multiple accolades as a Best Employer and best in class in many service arenas. We appreciate the loyalty of our people and our clients and we thrive on collaborating to create enterprising solutions that exceed expectations. 

Within Australia, Malcom has had the benefit of working with a highly regarded leadership team, including John Marasco and Simon Hunt, who are focussed on maximising the potential of property for our clients, through delivering enterprising solutions as we work through the market conditions of 2021. By keeping aligned to our values of being enterprising to exceed expectations and collaborating to drive exceptional results, Colliers are well positioned in 2021 to maximise the potential of property and to be a part of leading our industry into the future, not only in Australia but right across the Asia Pacific region. 

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David Hall

National Director | Industrial

Sydney West

David is a National Director – Industrial at Colliers International and also holds the role of Director in Charge for the Sydney West Industrial department. Based in Parramatta, David's team of thirteen agents is one of the largest and highest performing teams in Australia.

Since joining Colliers' in 2016, David’s specialisation is within the key Western Sydney markets, with a heavy focus on large transactions of land, development projects as well as large leasing appointments and corporate mandates.

With an enterprising attitude, David brings a wealth of experience and creative thinking to some of the more challenging industrial property solutions, accelerating the success of his clients.


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Luke Crawford

Director | Research


Luke has 10 years’ experience in property research and real estate advisory, providing strategic advice and research to private, government and listed groups. Luke currently heads up the national industrial and logistics research function at Colliers, where he provides high quality research on the trends impacting the sector to both internal business lines and clients.

Luke has provided tailored and strategic industrial and logistics research to groups including Charter Hall, Mapletree, ESR, Ascendas, Centennial and ARA.

Prior to joining Colliers International, Luke has held roles within the Real Estate Advisory Services (REAS) division at KPMG and the Research and Consultancy team at Knight Frank.

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