It goes without saying that retail is evolving. More shopping is occurring online, but the pace of change is uneven.
"You can't paint retail with broad brush strokes," James Cook, JLL's director of retail research, told CNBC in an interview. "You have to talk about the category changes ... instead of saying retail is going down the tubes."
JLL took a look at 13 retail categories using consumer opinion data gathered by the firm, store closure statistics, same-store sales growth and e-commerce penetration, to gauge how it will look in the future.
What they found was that these categories are facing different dynamics. All retailers must adapt, but the urgency is more pressing for some.
"Shoppers each have a unique value system for determining how they buy and where they shop," said Naveen Jaggi, president of retail brokerage at Jones Lang LaSalle.
"We found that shoppers are motivated to go either in-store or hop online based on how much time they have, if they need to touch the goods and how much money are they willing to spend. The varying degrees of these values against different product types will determine how resistant they are to consolidation and migration online."
Here's a rundown of their findings. The first four categories are likely to remain "entrenched in brick-and-mortar" because of retailers' ability to create experiences here, JLL says. Then, several categories within retail will maintain a physical store presence. But they must also bring to the table "up-scaled" online offerings. Looking at the last three names on the list, consolidation and commoditization in these categories is moving sales online, and lessening the dependence on physical stores, JLL predicts.
These companies — like TJX, Ross Stores and Burlington — offer a "treasure hunt" to consumers who want heavily slashed prices, which is not as easy to implement online. E-commerce penetration is less than 1 percent in this category, JLL says, while same-store sales growth was more than 3 percent, boding well for the off-price sector.
Brands such as Dollar General and Dollar Tree have "universal attraction" and are all about saving money, according to JLL. E-commerce penetration is relatively non-existent, with only a few new online entrants like Brandless and Hollar, trying to replicate something similar online. Dollar stores' same-store sales growth is around 2 percent.
Furniture stores let shoppers try — or sit on — before they buy. Though e-commerce penetration is near 20 percent, this category will "straddle the line of online and in-store but remain heavily focused on brick-and-mortar showrooms," according to JLL.
Grocery stores. The group continues to inch into the world of "omni-channel," with several players now offering delivery. But according to JLL's research, 93 percent of consumers still prefer to inspect their own produce. So, that means names like Kroger, Sprouts Farmers, Lidl and Aldi still stand a chance, Cook tells CNBC.
Same-store sales are about neutral at these big-box retailers, which can become the perfect "one-stop shop" for consumers. E-commerce penetration is near 5 percent, according to JLL, but it's set to grow. Meantime, companies such as Target and Wal-Mart continue to make their stores appealing for picking up necessities on the way home, after first ordering them online.
Chains such as J.C. Penney and Macy's are "feeling the heat" from off-price retailers and mass merchants, with e-commerce penetration reaching more than 13 percent, JLL has found. But some of the best malls are here to stay, for now, leaving room for somewhat of a brick-and-mortar presence. Not all is lost, Cook says.
Apparel companies are in a tough spot. There is chatter of bankruptcies, but simultaneously stores are still being opened by some. More than 75 percent of consumers prefer to buy their apparel in-store, JLL says, but the firm expects fashion retailers to continue to merge the physical experience with online.
Children's retailers saw a 16 percent jump in e-commerce sales, according to JLL, as online retailers in this category offer time savings for moms and dads. Sales in this category will increasingly shift online, but physical stores will be essential for experiences, Cook says.
This group of retailers hasn't had a great year. A few of the biggest names in the space, such as Sports Authority and Gander Mountain, have filed for bankruptcy and shuttered stores. However, JLL says that more than half of U.S. consumers still want to buy sporting goods in a store. So, they maintain the need for physical locations, for now.
Office supply retailers have consolidated of late, largely due to increased competition. This sector is expected to continue moving sales online, JLL says, as physical stores offer "minimal experience" and shoppers can save time by buying online.
E-commerce penetration in this category is nearly 10 percent, JLL has found, meaning brick-and-mortar retailers that don't offer an experience or point of differentiation are going to have a difficult time surviving. Though, stores from brands such as Apple and Best Buy are true outliers, as they continue to draw customers in.
Bookstores could be the biggest victim of the bunch, nearly 25 percent e-commerce penetration. Availability of books has become commoditized, thanks to Amazon, but there are still some smaller chains that offer in-store experiences and food and beverage options, which should remain "relevant," JLL says.