In these turbulent times, retail statistics are indispensable indicators that show the upside-down turn of the retail scene during the global pandemic. This hard economic blow affected even the largest of retailers, pushing everyone to adapt to digitalized and delivery-based retail services. Will the drop in retail revenue drag the global economy further into a worldwide recession in the face of this crisis? Will going back to business be as usual in the post-lockdown retail world, or will things forever change?
To understand the scale of the disruption made by the COVID-19, our starting point, and the future retail trends, read on.
Top 10 Takeaway Retail Statistics
- The US retail market represented 5.5% of the GDP in 2019.
- The product sector of apparel and accessories was the most profitable in the 2019 retail market.
- Online retail sales accounted for 56.9% of all gains of the US retail market in 2019.
- China was a global leader in 2018, according to the Global Retail Development Index.
- Six of the biggest retailers in the world are based in the US.
- Walmart is the US retailing leader company by sales.
- The latest retail market data show a decline in revenue of at least 3.3% due to the COVID-19 sanitary crisis.
- In 2020, retail buyers are 30.6% more likely to buy online than in-store.
- Over half of the global consumers will not return immediately to in-store shopping in the post-lockdown.
- The US may suffer the closing of at least 100,000 retail stores by 2025.
U.S. Retail Sales Report Most Interesting Stats
1. The US retail market represented 5.5% of the GDP in 2019.
(NRF) (Statista) (BLS) (Marketplace Pulse)
Contributing $3.9 trillion to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on an annual level, the retail industry is the 7th pillar of the US economy.
2. The total volume of the retailing sales for 2019 reached $5.47 trillion.
With registered 4 million retail establishments in the US in 2019, the retail market was growing at a stable pace until COVID-19 stepped in. The growth of total retail sales in the US was projected to reach $5.94 trillion in 2024.
3. In 2019, the United States retail industry employed approximately 15 million workers.
Of those 15 million, the US retail industry counted around 4 million salespersons, near 3 million cashiers, and 1.4 million store clerks, following the data from the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS).
Additionally, around one million managers worked in retail last year.
4. The average retail salary in February 2020 was $20.19 per hour.
Furthermore, the average annual earnings for first-line supervisors/managers were $45,550 in 2019, whereas customer service representatives earned $30,610. Next were retail salespersons, gaining, on average, $29,250 a year.
5. The average number of hours worked by employees in the retail sector is 30.7 per week, which is a half an hour increase.
(T Sheets) (BLS)
Retail workers worked some 0.5 hours more in February 2020 than back in the period 2013–2018, when they worked 30.2 hours per week, on average.
During the same period, around 29% of retail workers reported working overtime.
6. The apparel and accessories retail sector was the most profitable in 2018, Deloitte retail sales report for FY 2018 reveals.
The retailing sales analysis by the primary product sector among the 250 global retail businesses exposes the biggest earnings in the apparel and accessories for the FY 2018.
The revenues of this product sector ($11,823 million) represented 9.7% of the total revenue of the top 250 retailers. This makes it the leading product sector in 39 of the top 250 global retailers.
Among other sectors analyzed, such as fast-moving consumer goods, hardlines and leisure goods, and others, the hardlines and leisure goods experienced the biggest revenue growth of 7.3% for the same fiscal year.
7. Online US retail sales accounted for 56.9% of all gains in the US retail market in 2019.
(Digital Commerce 360)
Representing 16% of total sales for 2019, the US digital retail market surpassed in-store sales for the third time in US history.
The 2019 data from the US commerce department shows that the digital retail market experienced a 14.9% rise in revenue since 2018, whereas the retail market as a whole had a 3.8% increase in retail sales since 2018.
In 2019, $601.75 billion were spent through the national retail systems online. Amazon, representing 36.9% of the US ecommerce market, has shown to be one of the biggest online retailers.
8. Online retail statistics for 2019 show that Black Friday surpassed Cyber Monday in online sales.
In 2019, 93.2 million Americans shopped via online retail stores during Black Friday, in comparison with 83.3 million shoppers on Cyber Monday, online shopping statistics confirm.
This was the first time in the online retail shopping history of the US that Black Friday overrode Cyber Monday, according to NRF.
The Saturday after the Black Friday was next in retailing sales, attracting 58.2 million online buyers, followed by Thanksgiving Day with 49.7 million shoppers, and Sunday with 43.1 million.
9. Walmart leads the top retailing companies in the US, retail statistics reveal.
Counting 4,756 stores across the US in January 2020, Walmart is at the top of retailing companies by retail sales volume ($387.66 billion in 2018).
Amazon, at the 2nd place, with $120.93 billion, is still far behind Walmart.
10. Americans are starting their shopping season earlier, and they are spending up to 16% more, retail statistics for 2019 reveal.
(CNBC) (Marketing Charts) (NRF)
Starting from Thanksgiving and ending with Christmas, the holiday season is crucial for the retail business, as stores can make up to 40% of their annual sales during this time.
Also, the holiday season sales went up to a record increase of 6.8% in 2004.
The peak in holiday shopping for 2019 happened between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, with some 189.9 million Americans (14% rise since in 2018) shopping around.
The Global Leaders in Retail Statistics
11. China ranked first in 2018, according to the Global Retail Development Index.
(Kearney) (China Internet Watch)
With a 12% retail market YoY increase in 2018, China was the world’s leader in retail following the 2019 Kearney report.
The Chinese concept of “new retail” that combines online and offline retailing played a big part in this success. Alibaba, one of the biggest online retailers is a perfect example, opening Alibaba’s Hema Supermarkets.
The online retail market in China was up by 16.5% in 2019, and the combined retail sales grew by 8%, reaching $6,010 billion.
12. The global retail industry statistics show that six out of the 10 biggest retailers in the world are based in the US.
Walmart, with its 11,501 stores across the world and $517 billion in global revenue, clearly stands out on the list of top retailing companies. With global revenue of $213 billion, Amazon ranks second, followed by Costco ($144 billion).
Other US retail business ranking at the top are Kroger, Walgreens Boots Alliance, and Home Depot. They are accompanied by the German Schwarz Group, and Aldi; the Chinese JD.Com; and the French Carrefour.
13. Worldwide retailing statistics expose Reliance Retail as the fastest-growing retailer.
(Statista) (Economic Times)
Marking a staggering compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 55.8% for the period 2013–2018, the Reliance Industries Limited (Reliance Retail) is the fastest-growing retailer in the world, as these are the most recent figures. The reported revenue in 2018 — $18.5 billion.
The India-based retailer Reliance Retail made a spectacular 88.4% rise in revenue in just one year, jumping 38 places to the 56th position in the top 250 retail companies for FY 2018.
Next on the top retailing companies by CAGR are Wayfair Inc, and Vipshop Holdings Limited.
14. The online retail trade is the fastest growing branch in the European retail market.
In 2019, the European ecommerce marked an annual growth rate of 5.88% in revenue, and with it, ranking as the fastest-growing retail sector in Europe, it surpassed the sectors of office equipment and services, and special retail lines.
Furthermore, the projected growth for 2021 for the European online retail stores market revenue is 19.63%, which is also the biggest projected CAGR in the different retail business sectors in Europe. For example, the growth rate for the total European retail market is expected to be only 1.01% in 2021.
U.S. Retail Sales Statistics and the COVID-19 Pandemic
15. More than 700,000 workers in the retail industry lost their job due to the coronavirus pandemic.
About 52 million American citizens have a job in the retail industry, from traditional retail stores to gas stations, restaurants and other service businesses.
The estimates and official reports are disclosing worrying figures. Gap is said to have laid off 80,000 workers, while Kohl’s surpassed the figure with 85,000 ex-employees. Macy’s (Bloomingdale’s, Blue Mercury) seems to have laid off the most — about 120,000 workers.
16. The latest retailing statistics show a decline in revenue of at least 3.3%.
According to the IBISWorld, the temporary lockdown will lead to at least a 3.3% decrease in retail revenue for the 2020 year, and this is if the pandemic is contained in a timely manner.
What’s more, the loss of jobs will further damage the ability of Americans to purchase retail products. However, it is still uncertain how many of the existing 3,225,390 retail businesses will resist the impending global recession.
17. Retail sales by month graph shows a drop of 8.4% from February to March 2020.
(Forbes) (Trading Economics)
The COVID-19 lockdown plummeted retail sales of “non-essential” items. The US Census Bureau sales data indicate $438 billion in March, in comparison with $529 billion in February.
This is the largest monthly drop ever recorded in US history ($91 billion), exceeding the November 2008 retail contraction of 4.3%.
At the time, the biggest losses can be seen in the retail for furniture (-58.7%), clothing and accessories(-78.8%), and restaurants and bars (-29.5%), pushing many over their financial limits, as the newest bankruptcy statistics show.
18. Retail shoppers in 2020 are 30.6% more likely to buy online than in-store.
(PYMNTS) (Statista) (Statista)
A 2020 study conducted by PYMNTS unveils that the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in an almost 35% increase in the share of consumers that report buying digitally in comparison with the 2019 online shopping statistics.
Consumer spending statistics further reveal that some 24% of Americans preferred food and drink deliveries instead of going to the stores, while 27% were opting for online retail shopping for hygiene products. Additionally, 26% of them were shopping for household cleaning products as of May 31.
Also, in March 2020, 9% of the online shoppers were making their first-ever online purchase.
19. Over half of the global retail shoppers won’t return to in-store shopping in the near post-lockdown future.
(Global Web Index) (Statista)
The 2020 report by the Global Web Index concerning consumer habit change during the global pandemic reveals that the majority of the people surveyed in 17 countries across the globe will avoid in-store shopping in the near future out of fear of infection. Only 15% of consumers reported not doing any online shopping during the pandemic.
Among online shoppers, most of them focused on essentials, like grocery products, household items, and essential personal care products. For example, in the UK, 27.1% of consumers reported ceasing online retail shopping for clothes.
20. The United States retail sector may suffer the closing of at least 100,000 retail stores by 2025.
(Forbes) (NBC News)
For comparison’s sake, over 9,300 stores in retail business were closed in 2019, which is also a 63% increase compared to the year before.
Based on the recent stock market statistics, retail stores closing due to the economy will continue in the future, given that more and more shoppers are getting used to shopping online amid the coronavirus crisis.
The abrupt change of customer needs during the COVID-19 crisis exposed the weaknesses of the global retail market and pushed it forward into the already ongoing process of digital metamorphosis.
Based on how many people shop online currently, it is safe to assume that online shopping is the future of retail. However, the way people shop is not the only thing that changed during this pandemic. The customers’ attention to essentials and risky sales has improved as well, which means a definitive change of the face of retail, as these retail statistics can attest.
- China Internet Watch
- Digital Commerce 360
- Economic Times
- Global Web Index
- Marketplace Pulse
- Marketing Charts
- NBC News
- Retail Dive
- T Sheets
- Trading Economics