15 Retail Statistics

Updated on August 17, 2021

Overview: Retail Statistics

  1. Retail in the U.S. accounts for $6 trillion in sales.
  2. Retail sales are projected to top $30 trillion by 2023.
  3. Retail drives nearly 70% of economic growth.
  4. The retail industry provides 52 million jobs.
  5. In August 2020, retail sales were up 2.7% year over year.
  6. Walmart is the world’s largest retailer, with $500.34 billion in revenue in 2018.
  7. In 2019, 90% of retail sales happened in-store.
  8. An average small business makes $22,430 in income each month.
  9. 73% of customers use multiple channels to shop.
  10. 87% of shoppers begin their shopping journey online.
  11. Mobile shopping sessions are 32% shorter than desktop shopping sessions.
  12. 62% of consumers prefer purchasing in-store.
  13. 64% of shoppers say they don’t feel retailers really know them.
  14. 66% of shoppers say technology improved their shopping experience.
  15. 88% of retail marketers say personalization has improved their overall marketing efforts.

Retail is one of the world’s most important industries. It’s a key indicator of economic health as retail sales are a crucial metric to determining consumer spending. Likewise, the retail industry provides a huge number of jobs and is a main driver of economic growth.

In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the global economy was primarily felt by retailers. As retail stores were forced to close to help enforce social distancing guidelines, the economy dipped with them. Over time, however, the retail industry has begun to recover as life begins to get a little more back to normal.

Today, retailers are going to work in a difficult economy and they’ll have to be more innovative than ever to thrive. With these statistics, however, you’ll be armed with the industry knowledge you need to succeed.

General Retail Statistics

1. Retail in the U.S. accounts for $6 trillion in sales.

Retail is one of the country’s largest industries. It accounts for nearly one-third of the United States’ $21.4 trillion GDP. [1][2]

2. Retail sales are projected to top $30 trillion by 2023.

As big as it is, the retail industry is still projected to get considerably more massive over the next few years. [3]

3. Retail drives nearly 70% of economic growth.

Retail is absolutely integral to the economy as it is a sector that all people are involved in. Everyone has to buy food and clothes, and their shopping dollars help create a stable and functioning economy. [4]

4. The retail industry provides 52 million jobs.

While dollars are important, the retail industry also provides 52 million jobs to workers. That’s about 32% of the entire workforce. [5]

5. In August 2020, retail sales were up 2.7% year over year.

Despite COVID-19 challenges, retail sales were actually up year over year by August 2020. Sales lagged for a few months due to forced closures of non-essential businesses, but shoppers showed up later in the year to help businesses recover. [6]

6. Walmart is the world’s largest retailer, with $500.34 billion in revenue in 2018.

Despite the growth of online retailers like Amazon, Walmart is still by far the world’s largest retailer. Amazon reported revenues of $164.1 billion in 2019, a far cry from Walmart’s numbers. [7]

7. In 2019, 90% of retail sales happened in-store.

Although it may seem like everyone shops online these days, 90% of retail sales still happen in-store. People aren’t ready to go fully digital when it comes to shopping. [7]

8. An average small business makes $22,430 in income each month.

According to VendHQ, the average small retail business makes more than $20,000 each month with a gross margin of 50.96%. The numbers differ across industries as you might expect. Furniture retailers lead the pack with $39,752 per month. Beauty retailers average $18,644. [8]

Shopping Statistics

9. 73% of customers use multiple channels to shop.

Although most purchases still happen in-store, the majority of customers shop by utilizing many channels. They learn more about products online, engage with retailers on social media, and try to become as informed as possible before making a purchase in-store. [9]

10. 87% of shoppers begin their shopping journey online.

Again, while most sales happen in-store, a significant majority of shoppers actually begin their buying journey before stepping into a store. That’s why it’s important for small businesses to have an online presence. [10]

11. Mobile shopping sessions are 32% shorter than desktop shopping sessions.

People love shopping on their smartphones and tablets. However, they also lead to shorter sessions and increased cart abandonment. To help reduce this turnover, leading retailers are making their online stores more mobile-friendly and easier to use from a user-experience standpoint. That means implementing things like “searchandizing” tactics and mobile wallets. [10]

12. 62% of consumers prefer purchasing in-store.

Why do so many purchases happen in-store? Because most people prefer it. The in-store shopping experience makes it easier for people to try things on, get their questions answered, and actually engage with and handle products before buying. [11]

13. 64% of shoppers say they don’t feel retailers really know them.

Shoppers want to feel connected to the brands and retailers they love, but businesses are struggling to do that. Some retailers are taking steps to fix that, however. Take Best Buy, for instance, which sends team members to shoppers’ homes to recommend tech products that would fit their lifestyle. [12]

14. 66% of shoppers say technology improved their shopping experience.

A website is only one part of the technology equation. Innovations like augmented reality, in-store navigation, self-checkout, and smart dressing rooms are helping to improve the in-store shopping experience. These innovations may not be cheap, but they’re worthwhile investments. [13]

15. 88% of retail marketers say personalization has improved their overall marketing efforts.

Finally, personalization pays dividends. The vast majority of marketers say putting a shopper’s name on marketing materials helps conversions and drives sales. People want to feel seen! [14]

The Bottom Line on Retail