Cold Storage Industry Likely To See Demand For Another 100M Sq Ft From Online Grocery Sales

Cold-Storage Expansion Most Likely In Gateway Markets and in Leading States for Food Production, Like California, Washington, Florida


Kris Hudson, CBRE Group, Inc.

June 5, 2019


Los Angeles | The growth of online grocery sales has the U.S. market for cold-storage warehouses poised for strong growth, potentially creating demand for up to 100 million sq. ft. of cold-storage space over the next five years, according to a new report from CBRE.


That forecast stems from a projection by the Food Marketing Institute and Nielsen that groceries ordered online will account for 13% of total grocery sales by 2022, up from 3 percent in 2018. Such growth would amount to an additional $100 billion in annual grocery sales conducted online. Click here to view an interactive map of consumers’ likelihood to buy groceries online across the U.S.


This outlook portends significant changes for the industrial cold-storage industry, which at 3.6 billion cubic feet (an estimated 214 million sq. ft.) currently accounts for a tiny portion of U.S. industrial-and-logistics real estate overall. Much of the cold-storage sector’s growth is likely to occur in gateway markets like Los Angeles and the New York area as well as leading food-production states, such as California, Washington state, Florida, Texas and Wisconsin.


“Several factors have combined to fuel expansion of the cold-storage space, from consumers’ increasing use of online ordering for groceries to grocers’ investment in new delivery strategies and warehouse technologies,” said Adam Mullen, CBRE’s Industrial & Logistics Leader in the Americas. “Still, the sector’s growth will be somewhat measured because these are specialized facilities requiring significant capital, power and government approvals.”


The challenges of constructing and modernizing cold-storage facilities to keep up with the strong growth of online grocery sales has driven consolidation in the industry as firms seek to gain economies of scale, according to CBRE. Four companies control 73.4 percent of the refrigerated warehouse space in North America.


“Few sectors of commercial real estate will undergo as much transformation in the coming years as the cold-storage industry due to e-commerce’s impact on this previously underpenetrated market,” said Matthew Walaszek, CBRE Associate Director of Industrial & Logistics Research, Americas. “We will see robust demand, further innovation in delivery and automation, and possibly more consolidation among major players.”


To read and download the report, click here. Download may take a few seconds.


About CBRE Group, Inc.

CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBRE), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (based on 2018 revenue). The company has more than 90,000 employees (excluding affiliates), and serves real estate investors and occupiers through approximately 480 offices (excluding affiliates) worldwide. CBRE offers a broad range of integrated services, including facilities, transaction and project management; property management; investment management; appraisal and valuation; property leasing; strategic consulting; property sales; mortgage services and development services. Please visit our website at


document, plus table, links