Pandemic and Covid were the biggest buzzwords back in 2020 and 2021. Several businesses shut down, and the retail industry went through seismic changes.
Understanding these changes will help you discover where the industry is headed and how consumers evolve.
This article will cover some of the most eye-opening statistics for the retail industry in recent years.
Rather than going on a wild goose chase, SeeBiz puts it all on one page.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what we’ll cover:
- Retail Sales Statistics
- Covid-Related Retail Statistics
- Retail eCommerce Statistics
- Retail Industry Growth Statistics
- Brick-and-Mortar Retail Statistics
- Consumer-Side Retail Statistics
- Retail Theft Statistics
- Holiday Shopping Retail Statistics
- Retail Employment Statistics
- Retail Product Returns Statistics
- Retail Marketing Statistics
- Retail Traffic Statistics
Retail Sales Statistics
This section will cover the sales statistics for retail businesses.
Retail sales to exceed $4.44 trillion by the end of 2021 (NRF)
The National Retail Federation issued its revised annual forecast for 2021.
It is anticipated that retail sales will rise between 10.5 and 13.5%, reaching more than $4.44 trillion.
At least 62% of Shoppers engaged in retail therapy in 2021 (WebMD)
Retail therapy is when you spend time shopping for the primary purpose of feeling better.
You could say it is a coping mechanism for other issues going around in the shopper’s life.
A study uncovered that 62% of shoppers bought something to cheer themselves up in 2021.
An additional 28% of people made purchases to celebrate an occasion.
Global retail sales are expected to reach $7.385 trillion in 2025 (eMarketer)
According to eMarketer, global retail sales figures are looking good for 2022 and beyond.
We can expect to see retail sales reach $7.385 trillion in 2025.
This is a significant growth estimate considering sales reached $4.921 trillion in 2021.
U.S. retail sales top $5,570 billion (Census.gov)
According to the U.S Census Bureau, American retail sales increased 3.1% from $5,402.3 billion in 2019 to $5,570.4 billion in 2020.
The survey includes 16,500 employer businesses that sell directly to consumers in 50 states and Columbia.
Covid-Related Retail Statistics
This section will cover the retail statistics directly related to Covid.
Covid 19 Impacted 85% of Americans’ Buying Habits (Statista)
Approximately 85% of Americans say that Covid-19 has impacted their shopping habits in one way or another.
Consumers started to spend even less than before, while online shopping and delivery services became even more popular.
Buying patterns revealed a common trend towards buying groceries, household supplies, pet food, and entertainment at home.
In 2021, total retail sales in the US grew by 16.9% compared to 2020 (Statista)
In December of 2021, total retail sales in the US grew by 16.9% when compared to the same period in 2020.
Several industries including gasoline stations, clothing outlets, and hobby stores experienced considerable growth in sales.
Approx. 38% of shoppers fear contracting Covid-19 at the grocery store (Digital Commerce 360)
As of August 2021, most of the shoppers bought stuff online. However, convenience aside, there’s another concern bothering customers.
A survey by Digital Commerce 360 revealed that almost 38% of shoppers remained nervous about exposure to Covid-19 when shopping in stores.
This mindset may take a while to go away. Eventually, we can expect to see a decline in this number.
In 2021, 80% of shoppers feel comfortable visiting physical stores now (MoodMedia)
Shoppers miss the possibility of touching and trying the product on the spot.
They also miss sharing the shopping experience with friends or loved ones.
Lastly, they like the possibility of bringing the item home immediately.
Post-Covid, 52% of U.S. online adults enjoy trying new brands, and 63% spend time comparing products before purchase (Chain Storage)
Customers post-Covid are becoming both digitally savvy and channel-agnostic.
They’re open to exploring more shopping options than before. And, they’re even more likely to take advantage of digital’s self-service environments.
This forces retailers to rethink, redesign and repurpose the store environment to offer the best experiences.
Retail eCommerce Statistics
This section will cover retail eCommerce statistics for businesses.
Retail eCommerce sales hit $204.62 billion in Q3 2021, increasing 6.8% compared to the same period in 2020 (Census.gov)
According to the figures provided by Census.gov, retail eCommerce sales saw a modest 6.8% increase in 2021 compared to the same time in 2020.
This is a decline from the 9.2% year-to-year growth seen in Q2 2021, which was already a significant drop from 30-40% from previous quarters.
However, when comparing 2021 Q3 sales to 2019 Q3 sales, we can see a surge of 45.6% in eCommerce sales.
Hence, even though eCommerce sales are slowing down at the end of 2021, they’re still much better than pre-Covid years.
Ecommerce sales expected to reach $1.607 trillion in 2025 (eMarketer)
US total retail sales in 2025 are projected to reach $7.344 trillion.
This figure includes $5.737 trillion of physical retail sales and $1.607 trillion of eCommerce retail sales.
Seven in ten customers will shop in micro-moments in 2021 (INMAR Intelligence)
Due to the ease of eCommerce and the rise of Covid-19, shoppers are spending the majority of their time online.
Buyers are becoming “Always-on Consumers”, making purchases whenever mood strikes.
This has led to 70% of customers that shop in micro-moments.
Most of their purchases are either unplanned or robust and done on mobile devices.
One-third of consumers say they don’t trust online-only businesses (Morning Consult)
This survey from Morning Consult shows that online-only retailers still have a long way to go to compete with brick-and-mortar retailers.
Nearly 34% of consumers said they aren’t ready to trust a retailer with an online-only presence.
Retail Industry Growth Statistics
This section will cover the general statistics for retail businesses.
Retail has a total GDP impact of $3.9 Trillion in the USA (NRF)
Out of the $20.94 trillion GDP of the United States, retail contributes $3.9 trillion. That’s more than 18% of the capital.
This shows the retail industry’s massive size and impact in the USA.
US Retail grew by 18.8% year-on-year in December 2021 compared to a 19.3% increase in November 2021 (Census.gov)
United States retail grew 18.8% YoY in Decmeber 2021. This figure was a decrease from the 19.3% YoY growth observed in November 2021.
The sales did reach a record high in April 2021 (up by 42.7%) which was substantial growth compared to the -16.7% decline in April 2020.
These calculations were performed by CEIC and retail sales data was provided by the U.S Census Bureau.
Brick-and-Mortar Retail Statistics
This section will cover the statistics for physical retail businesses.
Only 6% of shoppers are yet to return to shopping in physical stores (Mood Media)
Concerns for health and safety still linger, but shoppers are returning to their pre-2020 shopping habits.
According to Mood Media, only 6% of shoppers have not returned to stores.
This shows how almost all consumers are already flocking back to physical stores.
At least 86% of US shoppers say they’re now comfortable or “very comfortable” with in-store shopping as of mid-2021 (Mood Media)
As of mid-2021, 86% of American shoppers are comfortable shopping in-store, up from 68% in September 2020.
Globally, 80% of shoppers feel comfortable visiting physical stores now, up from 71% in 2020.
US Convenience stores were three times as common as any other type of retail store (NACS Magazine)
Convenience stores were leading retail locations with over 150,000 US locations in 2020.
In second place came grocery stores with 47,000 locations, followed closely by drug stores with 41,000 locations.
Two store opening announcements for every store closing announcement (NRF)
Even with the pandemic presenting challenges for many businesses, 2021 was a banner year for retail.
According to The Daily on Retail, roughly 5,725 stores announced their opening through 3Q21.
This figure is almost double the 2,890+ store closing announcements over the same time.
Consumer-Side Retail Statistics
This section will cover the statistics for retail business consumers.
Consumer behaviors are reverting to what they were pre-pandemic (ICSC)
The average length of stay at an indoor mall between March and July 2021 was 66 minutes, which is still a bit short of the 73 minutes pre-pandemic.
Between March and July 2021, the length of stay at grocery-anchored centers increased by 2 minutes to 39 minutes, about 4 minutes short of pre-pandemic levels.
Over 97% of consumers have backed out of a purchase based on convenience (NRF)
In a survey conducted by NRF in 2020, 97% of consumers said that inconvenience was the reason for backing out of a purchase.
As time with family and work is precious, buyers are prioritizing convenience while shopping more than ever.
Also, nearly 83% of consumers say that convenience is now a bigger purchasing factor than five years ago.
About 81% of consumers are either “purpose-driven” or “value-driven” (NRF)
An NRF report from 2020 revealed that most consumers usually fall into two categories.
One type (40%) believes they’re “purpose-driven” and want a product or service that aligns with their values.
The other type (41%) are more “value-driven” and just want good value products.
In the U.S., over 75% of consumers are trying new shopping methods (McKinsey)
COVID-19 disrupted the supply chain of many products and brands.
So consumers were forced to switch brands or shop at different retailers when their favorite product was not available at their preferred retailer.
Retail Theft Statistics
This section will cover the retail theft statistics in detail.
The average dollar loss due to shoplifting in 2020 was around 200$ more than in 2019 (Statista)
The average dollar loss per shoplifting incident in the US stood roughly at $460 in the fiscal year of 2020.
The survey from Statista compares theft data from 2014 to 2020.
The highest reported average dollar loss was reported back in 2016 at around $798.48.
The average dollar loss per dishonest employee for retailers in 2020 was about $1550 (Statista)
A survey by Statista revealed that external threats aren’t the only threats to a retail business.
The average dollar per dishonest employee case for retailers in 2020 was $1551.66.
The survey was conducted between 2014 and 2020, with 2020 ranking as the second-highest average dollar loss.
The highest loss was recorded in 2016 when the average dollar loss due to dishonest employees was over $1900.
Over two-thirds of US retailers report that Covid-19 has significantly increased certain risks to their businesses (Statista)
In 2021, a survey by Statista revealed that over two-thirds of retailers in the US say Covid-19 has increased certain risks to their organization.
Those risks include but are not limited to:
- Workplace Violence: Around 33.3% of respondents believe it has increased slightly, while 27.8% believe it has increased significantly.
- Organized Retail Crime: About 34.7% of respondents believe it has increased slightly, while 22.2% believe it has significantly increased.
- Shoplifting: Around 33.3% of respondents believe it has slightly increased, while 16.7% believe it has significantly increased.
- Employee Theft: About 33.3% of respondents believe it has increased slightly, while 11.1% believe it has increased significantly.
- Cargo Theft: Around 13.9% believe it has increased slightly, while 6.9% believe it has increased significantly.
The e-Commerce fraud detection and prevention market will grow by over 69 billion in 2025 (Statista)
To face a great threat, you’ll need a greater defense.
In 2020, the size of the e-Commerce fraud detection and prevention market was over 28 billion dollars.
However, due to prevailing concerns about online theft and scams, the market is projected to grow over $69 billion by 2025.
Holiday Shopping Retail Statistics
This section will cover the holiday shopping retail sales statistics in detail.
Holiday sales in 2021 grew 14.1 percent despite several supply chain problems and other issues (NRF)
A survey conducted by NRF found that 2021 holiday retail sales grew by 14.1 percent to a record $886.7 billion.
The figure easily beat the predictions of the National Retail Federation, setting a new record despite challenges posed by inflation, supply chain disruptions, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Holiday online retail sales grew by 8.5% during 2021’s holiday season (Mastercard)
A report by Mastercard SpendingPulse revealed that holiday retail sales, excluding automotive, increased by 8.5% year-over-year this 2021 holiday season.
Customers flocked to stores in droves to secure their gifts ahead of the retail rush as whispers of supply chain and labor issues induced a strong sense of FOMO.
Retail Employment Statistics
Retail supports 1 in 4 American jobs (NRF)
The retail industry plays a huge part when it comes to American employment.
Retail supports 1 in 4 American jobs, which amounts to over 50 million American workers.
Being the largest private-sector employer, the retail industry generates around $1 trillion in Direct Labor Income.
Retail Product Returns Statistics
This section will cover retail product returns statistics for businesses.
The retail returns amounted to $761 billion in 2021 (NRF)
Retailers expect more than $761 billion in merchandise sold last year to be returned by consumers.
This statistic was published in a report released by the National Retail Federation and Appriss Retail.
Nearly 2.63 million tons of returned merchandise ended up in landfills in 2020 (Statista)
Statista reported that in 2020, nearly 2.63 million tons of returned merchandise ended up in US landfills.
This figure was almost 16% higher than the previous year when 2.27 million tons were thrown away.
A similarly higher level of greenhouse gas emissions was also reported from transporting returns, reaching 16 million metric tons of CO2 by 2020.
Around 40% of retailers changed their return policies due to Covid-19 in 2020 (Statista)
Statista reports that around 40% of retail respondents had to adjust their retail return policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A further 27% of retailers are thinking about changing their current return policies.
Retail Marketing Statistics
We will discuss retail marketing statistics in this section.
According to the latest projections, US digital ad spending will amount to $460 billion by 2024 (Statista)
The United States is the largest digital advertising market in the world. The US had the highest revenue in the digital marketing industry in 2020 amounting to $137 billion.
According to a report by Statista, digital ad spending in the US will amount to $460 billion by 2024. This growth is thanks to the rising internet penetration rates and the ever-expanding popularity of digital platforms.
Around 87% of marketers say high-quality data is very important for marketing success (Marketing Evolution)
A report from Marketing Evolution and Forrestor revealed that 87% of marketing respondents ranked high-quality data as “very important”.
Without high-quality data, respondents have reported approximately $1.6 million of losses annually.
Retail Traffic Statistics
This section will cover the shopping mall and retail foot traffic statistics.
Shopping mall foot traffic on Black Friday up by 82.7% in 2021 compared to 2020 (Yahoo! News)
Placer.ai found that US shopping malls observed a major influx of customers this Black Friday.
Consumer traffic in shopping was up by 82.7% in 2021 compared to traffic in 2020.
Hence, this foot traffic data from Placer.ai suggests that shopping malls can make a huge comeback in 2022.
The average foot traffic peaked in July 2021 by 44% in the US physical stores (Statista)
The average foot traffic grew steadily in physical stores throughout 2021 and peaked in July with an increase of almost 44 percent.
Over the following few months, growth slowed slightly but remained relatively high at 30 to 35 percent before dropping to below 29 percent in November.