If you want to get an insight into the economy, just take a look at the US retail industry statistics. It’s so closely intertwined with other sectors that it gives us an insight into the overall economy and shows us some future trends emerging.

The retail sector took a hit from the COVID-19 pandemic, and the situation brought some surprises. For instance, after the initial plunge, some luxury goods sales skyrocketed. 

Retail has more to do with psychology than ever. People still want to spend money; you just have to provide them with a way to do it.

Important US Retail Industry Statistics (Editor’s Picks)

  • The US retail sector supports 52 million American jobs.
  • eCommerce sales in Q2 2021 accounted for 13.3% of total sales in the US.
  • Amazon is expected to increase its eCommerce market share to 50% this year.
  • US retail industry statistics show that 20% of all annual retail sales are made during the winter holiday season.
  • Approximately 98% of all retail businesses have fewer than 50 workers.
  • The retail industry is expected to grow by 3%-5% in 2021, and discretionary sectors will see enormous increases in operational profits.
  • Approximately 71% of in-store shoppers will spend more than $50 on shopping, but only 54% of online buyers will do the same.

Interesting Retail Industry Facts

1. The US luxury goods market was estimated at $94.5 billion in 2020.

(The Wall Street Journal, Research and Markets)

The US market is important globally. The French conglomerate LVMH, which operates brands like Louis Vuitton and Dior, reported a 12% increase in fashion and leather sales, and much of that increase was driven by rising US sales. Some other luxury goods manufacturers are reporting the same.

2. Retail employment statistics show that this sector supports 52 million American jobs.

(National Retail Federation)

The retail sector directly employs 32 million people. Still, because it’s so closely connected to all other sectors of the US economy, the overall impact is much more significant. The National Retail Federation estimates that this sector supports one in four American jobs.

3. The US retail market size is $5.4 trillion in 2021, measured by revenue. 


This sector was on a path of steady growth, but the COVID-19 pandemic caused it to stagnate. Based on the current sales data for 2021, we can say that the situation is once again improving, and the retail trade industry market size is expected to increase by 5.9% by the end of the year.

4. Retail and food service sales in July 2021 were up 15.8% compared to July 2020.

(The US Census Bureau)

US retail sales data provided by the US Census Bureau and based on a sample of 5,500 retail and food services firms for July 2021 show a slight decrease from June 2021 - by 1.1%.

5. Ecommerce sales in Q2 2021 accounted for 13.3% of total sales in the US.

(The US Census Bureau)

Online shopping has been on a constant rise ever since the idea was brought to life, but the COVID-19 pandemic sped things up noticeably. The percentage of retail sales online in 2020 was 16.1%. Although that percentage fell to 13.3% of total retail sales in Q2 2021, this sector is expected to grow and reach 21.8% by 2024. That’s why having online outlets is extremely important and more and more traditional brick-and-mortar retail companies are hiring eCommerce web developers and offering jobs to digital marketing experts

6. There are 4.2 million retail establishments in the US.

(National Retail Federation)

According to the National Retail Federation, this number of retail stores in the US represents the highest count in the 2010-2020 period.

7. Luxury brands have two times more digital than physical store visits.

(Bain & Co)

Online interactions influence 70% of luxury product purchases. Experts believe that online and single-brand stores will become the two most prominent channels for luxury sales in the future.

8. Retail sales in the US skyrocket in the winter holiday season, with 20% of all annual sales happening during that period.

(National Retail Federation)

Approximately 20% of these sales are made online.

9. US retail industry analysis shows that 98% of all retail businesses employ fewer than 50 people.

(National Retail Federation)

What’s more, 95% of all retailers operate in just one location. These small stores are closely intertwined with the local communities; they live and grow with them. And even though we think of big-box stores when we think of retail, the reality is that the retail sector is mostly made by people from our neighborhoods.

10. Some estimations say that 95% of all buys will be made online by 2040.


The expansion of online trade has been constant since 2000. A Nasdaq report from 2017 predicted that the number of online purchases would continue to rise and even reach 95% of all buys by 2040. Traditional retailers will have a hard time tackling this challenge, and many of them are already establishing some hybrid business models.

11. The retail sector will grow by 3%-5% in 2021.


US retail sales forecast for 2021 done by Moody’s says that the sectors that were hit by the COVID-19 pandemic the hardest will have the highest growth. Discretionary sectors will experience several hundred percent increases in operational profits. In other words, customers buy more stuff they want, unlike in 2020, when they limited themselves to the things they needed. Online sales will grow by 14.5%, and traditional retailers will have a 1.8% sales increase.

12. Amazon is expected to increase its eCommerce retail market share to 50% this year.

(Statista, Forbes, Amazon)

The pandemic made customers turn more to online shopping, and, as usual, the big players profited the most. Amazon’s net sales in 2020 increased 38% year-on-year, and it’s expected they’ll continue to grow in 2021. This isn’t surprising if you consider that 49% of US consumers start their product search on Amazon. The runner-up on the list, Walmart, holds just 5% of the market.  

13. Retail sales are projected to climb to $5.35 trillion in 2025.


Based on the current US retail industry statistics, the experts predict an increase in retail sales in the future. They will reach $5.35 trillion by 2025. The sales decline experienced in 2020 is entirely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The retail sector has always generated growth, and there is a fact-based belief that it’ll continue to do so in the future.

14. Walmart and Amazon are the two biggest retailers in the US, with more than $618 billion in revenue combined.

(National Retail Federation, Walmart)

Walmart is the undisputed number one on the list, with $430.83 billion in revenue in 2020. Amazon is approaching fast, even though the difference in sales might look substantial. It had $187.27 billion in sales in 2020. Amazon is doing business online, and Walmart has about 10,500 physical stores, which is a fact that clearly shows the importance of eCommerce.

15. US retail industry statistics show a 20% increase in digital sales on 2020 Thanksgiving Day, compared to 2019.


Furthermore, this trend expanded to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The increase was 23% and 10%, respectively. What’s interesting is that buyers didn’t want to wait for their purchases to be delivered. The retailers that offered curbside, drive-through, and in-store pickup had a 32% higher online sales growth than sellers without those options during Cyber Week.

16. The global retail industry growth rate for 2022 is predicted to be 6.6%.


The retail sector in the US is pretty resilient, and although the 2020 lockdowns were challenging, the industry is improving, according to the estimates made by the Statista Research Department.

17. eCommerce share of US retail sales in Q2 2021 increased 9.1% from Q2 2020.

(The US Census Bureau)

The statistics provided by the US Census Bureau for US retail sales in 2021 show that, despite the restrictions mainly being lifted, the eCommerce sector continues to grow in 2021. 

18. Approximately 71% of in-store shoppers will spend more than $50 on shopping, but only 54% of online buyers will do the same.

(First Insight)

When it comes to brick-and-mortar retail, the statistics show that people visiting physical stores usually spend more money than people buying online. Only 21% of online buyers will spend more than $100 during one visit to an online store, while 34% of shoppers will gladly spend that amount in brick-and-mortar stores. Also, buyers are 10% more likely to engage in impulse shopping when visiting a physical store. It just goes to show that people don’t mind frequently spending small amounts online, but they would like to see the item up close when they have to spend more money.


US retail sales statistics we’ve gathered here clearly show that constant lockdowns and movement restrictions plagued the sector in 2020, and many businesses had to close shop. However, the pandemic was also an opportunity for accelerated growth for the eCommerce sector, and in 2021, an upward trend can be observed in the volume of both regular and online retail sales.