Take-up of logistics space during the third quarter hit 13.3m sq ft across the UK, 111% up on the same period in 2019, according to CBRE.
A total of 45 deals completed during the quarter, compared with 21 in Q3 2019.
During the first three quarters of 2020 the total take-up for the sector was 32.6m sq ft.
The East Midlands accounted for 21.1% of take-up in Q3, followed by the West Midlands at 20%, the South West at 18.5%, the South East at 15.3%, the North West at 13.8% and Yorkshire and the North East at 11.3%.
Online retail continued to account for the largest proportion of occupiers taking space, at 33.3%, while third-party logistics operators accounted for 27.4% of take-up, general retail 16% and food retail 6.2%.
Build-to-suit units were most in demand by occupiers, at 39.7%, although this was 20% lower than for Q3 2019 as requirements from occupiers lean more towards leasing existing buildings rather than waiting for bespoke new builds, CBRE said.
Existing speculatively built space accounted for 34% of take-up, with second-hand space accounting for 26.3%.
Jonathan Compton, senior director, UK industrial and logistics at CBRE, said: “The extraordinary level of take-up seen in Q2 has now been exceeded in Q3. To put the numbers into context, the past six months’ take-up exceeds the annual total for eight of the past 10 years.”
Tasos Vezyridis, senior director, research at CBRE, added: “The sudden rise in e-commerce due to the pandemic will have a lasting effect and has concentrated five years growth of online sales within just six months. This has altered the logistics expansion plans of retailers and accelerated their needs, pushing them to take readily available space. With supply struggling to cope with the abrupt increase in demand, we expect the industrial and logistics sector to continue to outperform the other property sectors.”