How has the Covid19 influenced the retail industry? 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.
What is the current state of retail in the US, and globally? Here are the most important stats and facts.
Top 10 Takeaway Retail Statistics for 2021
- Walmart leads the top retailing companies in the US.
- The global retail sales are expected to reach $25.04 trillion in 2021.
- In 2020, retail sales in the US increased by 6.7%
- The Asia-Pacific region’s retail industry will have the highest CAGR over the next five years
- Baked goods have average retail markup of up to 300%.
- In 2020, retail buyers were 30.6% more likely to buy online than in-store.
- More than 700,000 retail workers in the retail industry lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- The US may suffer the closing of at least 100,000 retail stores by 2025.
- Black Friday sales went up by 21.6% in 2020.
- Reliance Retail was the fastest-growing retailer in 2020.
U.S. Retail Sales Report Most Interesting Stats
1. Walmart leads the top retailing companies in the US.
Counting 4,743 stores across the US in January 2021, Walmart is at the top of retailing companies by retail sales volume ($523.96 billion in 2020).
Amazon, in 2nd place, with $250.50 billion, is still far behind Walmart.
2. In 2020, US retail sales increased by 6.7%.
As a matter of fact, this is very impressive, seeing that the five-year average is 4.4% and that the global retail sales dropped.
Based on the forecasts for 2021, retail sales are expected to increase 10.5%–13.5%, amounting to over $4.44 trillion.
The number of retail stores in the US also continued to grow, reaching 1,045,422 in Q3 of 2020, which represented the highest establishment count in the last ten years.
On the other hand, in the last quarter of 2020, e-commerce retail sales increased by a mere 3%, compared to Q4 in 2019.
Online sales accounted for 10% of total retail sales.
3. The average retail salary in May 2021 was $21.76 per hour.
That said, there’s a huge difference between the salaries of supervisors and the lowest-paid employees.
The average annual earnings for first-line supervisors/managers were $47,020 in 2020, whereas cashiers earned $25,740.
4. 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.
5. Retail industry statistics from 2020 show there were 15.15 million retail workers in December.
The number of people working in the retail industry dropped catastrophically in April of 2020 to just over 13 million. But the industry rallied quickly and by the end of the year had well over 15 million employees.
Of the 15.15 million workers, 12.9 million were in production and nonsupervisory roles, while only about 2.2 million were in supervisory positions.
In May 2021, the total number of retail workers increased to 15.19 million.
6. The total volume of the retailing sales for 2019 reached $5.47 trillion.
With 4 million registered 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.
7. Average retail salaries for nonsupervisory employees increased relatively steadily since at least 2011.
Salaries in the retail sector have done relatively well in the last decade. In January of 2011, the average retail salary was $13.42 an hour, while it was $17.90 in the same period this year. Geographic distribution and the contrast with inflation of that increase notwithstanding, it appears to be good news for retail employees.
8. 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 industry statistics revealed that 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.
9. The apparel and accessories retail sector was the most profitable in 2018, Deloitte retail sales report reveals.
The retailing sales analysis by the primary product sector among the 250 global retail businesses exposes the biggest earnings in apparel and accessories for 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.
10. 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 e-commerce market, has shown to be one of the biggest online retailers.
11. 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 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.
12. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, digital shoppers hit a record by spending $10.8 billion on Cyber Monday sales, as per most recent retail statistics.
This was a 15.1% increase compared to 2019 data. What’s more, buyers decided to start their shopping spree earlier since retailers began to promote their deals in October to avoid crowds.
It’s worth mentioning that during the last four hours of sales (7 p.m.-11 p.m.), digital buyers managed to spend $2.7 billion, or 25% of Cyber’s Monday revenue.
13. Black Friday sales went up by 21.6% in 2020.
According to online retail sales statistics, in 2020, online shoppers splurged their credit cards on Black Friday sales, spending $6.3 million per minute, i.e., $27.50 per person, reaching a total of $9 billion.
The most wanted products among Black Friday buyers were Samsung TVs, Hot Wheels, Apple AirPods and Watches, Lego sets, and Amazon Echo devices.
At the same time, during Black Friday, there was an increase of a staggering 397% in online grocery shopping, personal care shopping (556%), and shopping for pet products (254%).
Impressive Global Retail Industry Statistics
14. Global retail sales are expected to reach $25.04 trillion in 2021.
On top of that, based on the estimations, by 2022, global retail sales should reach $26.69 trillion.
When it comes to countries, China has the largest online retail market. In 2020, the country’s online retail sales of goods grew by 14.8%, reaching 9.8 trillion yuan ($1.5 trillion).
15. New retail statistics show that only 3 of the top 10 retailers are still in the US, based on revenue.
Walmart, with its 11,501 stores across the world and $519.3 billion in global revenue, clearly stands out on the list of top retailing companies.
With global revenue of $280.52 billion, Amazon ranks second, followed by Costco Wholesale ($163.22 billion).
Although the top three companies in the retail rankings are in the US, major players in Europe and Asia are catching up quickly. In addition, many show faster growth than their US counterparts.
16. Worldwide retailing statistics exposed Reliance Retail as the fastest-growing retailer in 2020.
(Statista) (Economic Times)
Marking a staggering compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 55.8% for the period 2013–2018, Reliance Industries Limited (Reliance Retail) was the fastest-growing retailer in the world with the reported revenue in 2019 — $20.37 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 were Wayfair Inc and Vipshop Holdings Limited.
17. According to the latest retail trade statistics, Coupang has become the fastest-growing retailer in the world.
South Korean e-tailer, Coupang, managed to surpass last year’s winner, Reliance Retail, by becoming the fastest-growing retailer worldwide.
Coupang’s IPO reached a record $4.6 billion in March 2021. On top of that, the company reported a 60% year-on-year revenue boost and a five-year CAGR of more than 100%.
18. The average retail rent per square foot in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay is $2,745.
Hong Kong has the most expensive retail space in the world as of 2019. The second most expensive was Upper 5th Ave. in New York.
Hong Kong’s increasing standard of living and incredible population density make it an ideal location for retail stores. As pandemic restrictions wind down and foot traffic becomes more relevant, retail rent in many places of the world might rise in proportion.
Retail Industry Trends & COVID-19
19. More than 700,000 workers in the retail industry lost their jobs 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.
Despite the rough start, the retail industry outlook in 2020 shifted. By the end of the year, it had recovered most of the lost jobs in March and April.
The estimates and official reports disclosed worrying figures. Gap Inc. 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.
20. A retail industry overview shows that global retail sales fell 5.7% in 2020.
The long-term effects of the pandemic on global retail are still ongoing. But there’s no denying that it has had a net negative impact so far. The European Union alone experienced retail losses of $3.8 billion.
One of the few areas of retail sales that showed improvement in 2020 was supermarket online sales. Supermarket sales, as a whole, grew 34.8%, thanks in part to increased online shopping.
21. A 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 statistics on bankruptcy show.
22. Retail shoppers in 2020 were 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 increase of almost 35% in the share of consumers that report buying digitally in comparison with the 2019 online shopping statistics.
Figures on consumer spending 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 purchases.
23. 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.
24. 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.
25. The Asia-Pacific region’s retail industry will have the highest CAGR over the next five years.
Despite having the largest retail industry by size and market share, the US retail sector isn’t among the fastest-growing.
The steady growth of disposable income in rural and urban areas is driving much of the growth in the Asia-Pacific region. The Chinese retail market, in particular, will contribute significantly to the region’s success.
26. Baked goods have an average retail markup of up to 300%.
Grocery stores have notoriously high markups and still have to operate within razor-thin profit margins. But baked goods take the cake (pun intended) when it comes to markups.
If you buy freshly baked goods in a grocery store, you could end up paying four times as much as you would if you had made it from scratch.
What percentage of the economy is retail?
According to the latest statistics, the retail sector contributes 5.7% to the total US GDP. That amounts to a little over 1.2 trillion dollars that the retail industry is adding to the US economy’s worth.
Were retail sales down in 2020?
As a whole, global retail sales did fall by about 5.7% in 2020. Some areas and spending categories experienced that decline more sharply than others, and some spending categories even grew over 2020.
But rather than fall, strictly speaking, the retail sector is undergoing a reorganization. Still, nascent trends, such as online shopping, have been accelerated substantially, and it’s hard to predict what the long-term outcomes will be.
Is the retail industry growing or declining?
Despite the coronavirus pandemic and the global fall of 5.7% in 2020, global retail sales are expected to grow by 7.2% in 2021. Moreover, global retail sales are estimated to bring in 26.7 trillion by 2022.
However, the industry may experience a slight fall as the projected growth for 2022 is 6.6%.
What are the total US retail sales?
In the first quarter of 2021, retail sales are said to be $1,581.42 trillion. In 2020, the total US retail sales reached $5.622 trillion, which is a 3% increase compared to 2019.
The total volume of retail sales in the US in 2019 was $5.452 trillion, up by 3% from the $5.285 trillion in retail sales in 2018.
Is retail a dying industry?
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the retail industry is very much alive and kicking in the US. The retail industry experienced growth of 6.7% in 2020.
2020 was a bad year for global retail, though. The world sales growth contracted by 5.7%. However, it’s projected to more than compensate for the deficit with 7.2% growth in 2021 and 6.6% growth in 2022.
Final Thoughts on Retail Statistics
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.
- Digital Commerce 360
- Economic Times
- Global Web Index
- Harvard Business Review
- Marketing Charts
- Marketplace Pulse
- Mordor Intelligence
- NBC News
- PC Mag
- The Kitchn
- Trading Economics
- T Sheets