US Retail Sales Growing At Unprecedented Rates

The National Retail Federation is anticipating that retail sales will now grow between 10.5% and 13.5% to more than $4.44 trillion this year as the economy accelerates its pace of recovery.

Related Slideshow

1. Retail Sales
2. Saving Stockpile
3. GDP Levels
4. Forecast
5. State of Retail


Retail is Surging

Retail Sales: Retail sales are growing at unprecedented rates.

Earlier this month, The National Retail Federation (NRF) upwardly revised its retail sales forecast to grow between 10.5% and 13.5% in 2021.

Video (to the right): NRF’s Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz announces NRF’s revised sales forecast for 2021 during its inaugural State of Retail and the Consumer event. NRF now forecasts that 2021 retail sales are estimated to grow between 10.5 percent and 13.5 percent to more than $4.44 trillion this year as the economy accelerates its pace of recovery.

This is the highest growth rate we have ever forecast.

  • May retail sales were 17.3% higher than one year ago. (Source: Census Bureau, NRF)
  • Retail sales through the first five months of the year are 17.6% higher than for the first five months of 2020. Compared with the same period in 2019, retail sales are up by 20.8%. (Source: Census Bureau, NRF)
  • Growth in 2021 is not just about ecommerce. Removing non-store sales, which include ecommerce, results in 2021 year-to-date sales growth that is still almost 17% above 2020 levels. (Source: Census Bureau, NRF)

Business Applications: New business applications accelerated dramatically since the start of the pandemic and have remained at elevated levels – particularly in the retail sector.

  • According to the Census Bureau, retail business applications stood at over 92,000 in May 2021, significantly higher than the 2019 average of 43,000 applications per month. (Source: Census Bureau – Business Formation Statistics)
  • During the pandemic, monthly retail business applications saw dramatic growth, peaking at 120K in July 2020. (Source: Census Bureau – Business Formation Statistics)
  • Non-store retail accounted for 33% of the surge in new business applications. (Source: SSRN) Aided by marketplaces such as Amazon, Etsy, eBay, and Walmart as well as ecommerce enablers such as Shopify, Wix, and Stripe, it has never been easier to set up an online retail shop.
  • According to a working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, “areas including a higher proportion of Black residents, and more specifically higher median income Black neighborhoods, are associated with higher growth in startup formation rates between 2019 and 2020.”

Store Count: Not only are small online businesses growing but the number of U.S. stores reached the highest level on record in Q4 2020. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics QCEW survey)

Retail Corporate Bankruptcies: Through mid-May 2021, retail bankruptcies stood at 12, running at half the levels of 2020, and below the five-year average of 16 per year. (Source: S&P Global)

US Ecommerce Forecast

US ecommerce forecast has been revised upward, with 18% growth expected in 2021 reported by eMarketer.

Following a strong Q1 fueled by government stimulus, we have increased our forecast for US retail ecommerce sales in 2021. US ecommerce sales are expected to grow 17.9% this year (higher than the 13.7% predicted in January 2021) to reach $933.30 billion. That pushes ecommerce’s share of total US retail sales to 15.3%, up from 14.0% last year. Ecommerce is now on track to surpass 20% of total retail by 2024.

Total retail sales this year will increase by 7.9% to $6.083 trillion, surpassing $6 trillion for the first time. The two fastest-growing categories are apparel and accessories (up 28.7%) and home furnishings (up 11.4%). And because online sales account for about one-third of both categories’ total sales, those sectors will help drive overall ecommerce growth as well.

Related Retail Resources

Download Deloitte’s 2021 Retail Industry Outlook

Deloitte’s 2021 Retail Industry Outlook
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Download Keeping Up with the Retail Consumer

Keeping Up with the Retail Consumer
6 Supply Chain Disciplines Retailers Must Master - Developed by Adrian Gonzalez, Founder and President of Adelante SCM and LEGACY Supply Chain Services, with a foreword from Rick Blasgen, President and CEO, CSCMP. Download Now!


Download Retail Distribution Centre Automation: Using Technology to Stay in the Game

Retail Distribution Centre Automation: Using Technology to Stay in the Game
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In this paper, we look at the absolute fundamental importance of the software systems that underpin distribution center operations: warehouse management systems, warehouse execution systems, and warehouse control systems. Download Now!


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This paper outlines three rapidly evolving technologies that have demonstrated benefits for supply chain operations; 5G communications, digital twins, and blockchain, and is designed to help you make the critical decisions that will drive your organization forward and stay ahead of the retail game. Download Now!


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National Retail Federation

NRF’s Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz announces NRF’s revised sales forecast for 2021 during its inaugural State of Retail and the Consumer event. NRF now forecasts that 2021 retail sales are estimated to grow between 10.5 percent and 13.5 percent to more than $4.44 trillion this year as the economy accelerates its pace of recovery.

As the world’s largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide, NRF represents retailers of all types and sizes, including chain restaurants and industry partners, from the United States and more than 45 countries abroad. Retailers operate more than 3.6 million U.S. establishments that support one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.5 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy. NRF’s This is Retail campaign highlights the industry’s opportunities for life-long careers, how retailers strengthen communities at home and abroad, and the   critical role that retail plays in driving innovation.



View National Retail Federation company profile

 

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