43 Must-Know Retail Statistics for Small Business Owners

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In today’s fast-paced, ever-evolving retail landscape, small business owners must keep a keen eye on the latest trends, insights and other consumer statistics to stay competitive and informed. Understanding retail statistics empowers small business owners to make data-driven decisions that can optimize their operations, enhance customer experience and, ultimately, drive revenue growth.

To give small business owners a head start, we’ve gathered information on crucial aspects of the retail industry, including consumer behavior, sales strategies, e-commerce and brick-and-mortar trends. By staying updated with these retail stats, you’ll be better equipped to navigate the complex world of retail, adapt your business strategies and capitalize on new opportunities as they arise.

Overview of the Retail Market

A retail market overview helps small business owners understand the industry’s current state, trends, opportunities and challenges. The following statistics offer valuable context that can illuminate the market is direction, providing valuable insights for anyone involved in the retail market.

Retail Sales Statistics: A Snapshot

Inflation has lowered consumers’ purchasing power despite simultaneous gains in nominal income thanks to the strong labor market. Even though average weekly earnings have increased by 8.3% since December 2020, real earnings have fallen by 5% during the same period. This lower spending power will negatively impact sales volume.

At $45.05 billion in U.S. spending in 2023, retail media spending already has far exceeded marketing spend for connected TV, and it’s closing in on traditional TV. In fact, retail media is forecast to grow by more than 20% through next year, reaching $55.35 billion in 2024.

Customer experience expectations have never been higher. An astounding 88% of consumers surveyed by Salesforce said the experience a company provides is just as important as its products or services.

According to the National Retail Federation, total retail sales during 2023 will grow between 4% and 6% over 2022 levels, reaching between $5.1 and $5.2 trillion. Last year, annual retail sales grew 7% compared to 2021, totaling $4.9 trillion. The growth rate exceeds the pre-pandemic, average annual retail sales growth of 3.6%.

The Shift from Brick-and-Mortar to Online Shopping

Even when customers make a purchase at a brick-and-mortar store, they rely on digital marketing to influence their buying decisions. According to one survey, 59% of in-store shoppers conduct online research prior to purchasing. Likewise, almost two-thirds of shoppers use their phones in-store for reasons including price comparisons, product reviews, advice from friends or family, and product demonstration videos.

The same BazaarVoice survey found that 80% of retail shoppers are more likely to buy in-store when the item has a higher price, while 54% say they visit a brick-and-mortar store to check a product’s quality, and 46% say they prefer shopping in-store for instant ownership.

It’s too soon for retailers to cease their brock-and-mortar marketing efforts, however. According to a survey of 19,000 consumers, one in four consumers chooses a hybrid shopping experience, mixing physical and digital channels Meanwhile, 72% say they prefer the physical store for all or part of their buying journey.

Surprisingly, 81% of Gen Z consumers prefer to shop in brick-and-mortar stores to discover new products, and more than half of them say in-store browsing is a way to disconnect from the digital world.

retail statistics

Retail Market Segmentation

Retail market segmentation is essential in understanding the diverse range of customer needs, preferences and purchasing habits. The following facts delve into this crucial aspect of the global retail industry, shedding light on various segments and offering valuable insights to inform targeted marketing strategies and product offerings.

Product Category Retail Statistics

Motor vehicles and auto parts, as well as food and beverages—two categories with historically low levels of online purchases—are the fastest-growing product categories in e-commerce, no doubt a result of pandemic-related buying behaviors’ lasting effects.

Home and kitchen is the most popular product category at Amazon, followed by beauty and personal care, fashion apparel, then toys and games. Because of high competition among sellers with the e-commerce giant, more saturated product categories will have higher advertising costs.

Fashion is the most popular online shopping category by global retail e-commerce sales, and it’s expected to reach $990 billion in 2023. That represents more than 24% of all retail e-commerce revenue worldwide. Following the fashion product category are electronics, toys, hobbies and DIY.

The most popular online shopping category in the United States is toys, hobby and DIY with estimated 2023 spending of $258.4 billion, accounting for more than 25% of the expected total U.S. e-commerce revenue.

The Geographical Distribution of Retail Sales

Of the 9.1 million online retailers around the globe in 2022, 2.5 million of them were based in the United States. Among American vendors, 2.1 million sell products on their own e-commerce platforms, 3.2 million sell on Amazon’s marketplace, 110,000 sell through Walmart’s online marketplace, and 317,000 offer items for sale on eBay.

Of global retailers, 48% are headquartered in North America, and 33% hail from Europe, followed by the Asia Pacific region, Latin America and the region comprised of Africa and the Middle East.

Latin American retail markets are experiencing the most revenue growth, increasing by more than 15% in 2021. North American retailers, however, still achieved the highest return on assets at nearly 9%.

Europe is expected to capture 39% of the gift retail market by 2027 due in large part to the gifting culture in countries like the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain. Popular gifts in the region include photo frames and souvenirs, novelty items and products that are friendlier to the environment.

Online Shopping Statistics

As online shopping continues to evolve and shape the retail landscape in 2023, it’s paramount that retailers stay abreast of the latest trends. Keep reading to explore the most recent developments in e-commerce and gain valuable insights to help your businesses navigate the ever-changing digital retail environment.

E-commerce Retail Sales Growth

There now are more than 2.64 billion online shoppers around the world, a number that represents one of every three people on Earth. Astoundingly, the number of global digital shoppers grew by 80 million consumers since 2022—a 3.1% year-over-year increase.

The popularity of online shopping continues to drive growth in the e-commerce sector. More than 79% of buyers shop online at least once a month. Of that group, 27% make online purchases once every two weeks, while 22% shop online once a week.

In 2021, there were 842 million online shoppers in China—a 7.6% annual increase. For further evidence of the growth, consider that in 2011 there were just about 194 million people making online purchases in the world’s most populous nation.

When searching for and buying products from online retailers, 74% of consumers were concerned with upfront shipping costs, 68% valued free returns and estimated arrival times, 59% cared about in-stock alerts, and 54% sought available inventory alerts.

After making an online purchase, 60% of consumers expect same-, next- or two-day delivery, and 58% of those shoppers expect free next-day delivery.

Mobile Shopping and Retail Statistics

One of the primary reasons for the massive increase in mobile shopping is the increased smartphone use among Chinese consumers. In 2023, smart devices and mobile phones are operated by more than 1 billion consumers each day.

Nearly half of all U.S. consumers who shop online and pick up their orders in-store ultimately purchase more items while there. Of the 9 million U.S. consumers who receive their online orders on-site, 47% say they frequently buy additional items when they pick up their online purchases in-store. Another 17% say they sometimes purchase additional items when ordering online in-store. That equates to 5.5 million U.S. consumers who sometimes, often or always buy extra items.

When surveyed, 54% of smartphone users say they enjoy window shopping on their mobile devices. It should be no surprise, then, that 77% of smartphone users say that they impulse buy on their devices for fun.

Retail Sales Channels

Retail sales channels play a vital role in connecting businesses with their customers. If you’re interested in the diverse range of channels in the retail sales industry, keep reading for insights that can help businesses identify the most effective avenues for reaching their target audiences.

Multichannel Retail Statistics

A physical retail presence can boost online sales by serving as a sort of interactive billboard that inspires trust among would-be buyers. Brands typically receive about 37% more web traffic the quarter following a new brick-and-mortar store’s opening.

Retailers benefit when they make returns easy. In 2022, 71% of retailers accepted in-store returns of online purchases – and for a good reason, too. 80% of online shoppers who return items to physical stores will end up spending their refund while in retail stores.

According to the 2022 BazaarVoice Shopper Experience Index, customers who use multiple channels when shopping actually spend more money. On average, they spend about 9% more than customers who only interact with a brand through a single channel.

Omnichannel shopping experiences like allowing consumers to purchase online and pick up their orders in physical stores increase store visits by 80%. According to Google, global searches for “along my route” increased by more than 1,000% in recent years, while searches for “curbside pickup” have seen boosts of more than 3,000%.

In-Store Shopping vs. Online Retail Sales

While the adoption of mobile technology in the e-commerce sphere continues to grow, it has yet to surpass the use of more traditional computers for web-based shopping. The average value of online shopping orders in the United States still is generally higher on desktop than mobile devices. In the second quarter of 2022, for example, shopping purchases made from a computer had an average value of $155, while mobile orders averaged at just more than $112. Tablet orders had the lowest values, averaging less than $100.

According to a Shopify survey conducted by Forrester Consulting, about 46% of retailers are planning to increase their investments in digital channels over the next 12 months. Popular investment categories include company-owned online stores, social commerce, custom mobile apps and livestream selling.

Almost half of American shoppers use their cell phones while in physical stores to find better prices online, according to a Pew Research Center study. Another 12% say they’ve used their phones to pay for an item while shopping in a brick-and-mortar store.

Retail Industry Market Trends and Forecasts

Understanding market trends and forecasts is essential for staying ahead in the competitive retail landscape. Check out the following statistics that highlight emerging patterns and offer valuable predictions for the future, allowing businesses to make informed strategic decisions and capitalize on new opportunities as they arise.

Emerging Retail Industry Market Trends

As social media’s evolution continues marching boldly forward, opportunities for retailers also increase. According to a Wakefield Research and Square survey, 81% of retailers are planning to expand the number of digital channels they sell on in the next 12 months.

TikTok will add nearly 10 million social buyers in 2023, nearly two times the combined increase for Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Much of this growth is thanks to the platform’s popularity among the Gen Z demographic, who often make social media purchases because they found a product they liked.

With a recession looming, budget-conscious shoppers are increasingly purchasing private-label products. The sale of private label products outpaces the sales of branded products by 300%. In fact, private-label products drive 17.4% of U.S. grocery sales in. For example, store brands like Walmart’s Great Value and Equate products are purchased by nearly 73% and 51% of customers, respectively.  Retailers welcome this trend since their profit margins from private label products can be 25% to 30% higher than those earned by selling branded products.

The push for sustainable products and brands will continue in 2023, and brands are looking for innovative ways to support environmental efforts. Packaging, for example, might seem like a practical afterthought to many, but it can influence consumers’ decisions. In fact, 86% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product that comes in sustainable packaging.

Retail Market Predictions and Outlook

Retailers should have a metaverse strategy to succeed in 2023 as more consumers immerse themselves in the shared, 3D virtual space. However, depending on their target markets, some brands won’t need to invest as heavily as they might have thought. According to recent KPMG research, 56% of U.S. adults are aware of the metaverse, but only 8% actively frequent it.

Retailers might have their eyes on Generation Z, but they also should start paying attention to the next group of consumers. Experts report that Generation Alpha, born from 2010 onward, will number more than 2 billion by 2025. These young shoppers already have $360 million in annual disposable income, and by 2030, they will make up 11% of the global workforce.

Packaging isn’t the only retail element impacted by environmentally-conscious consumers. The global apparel resale retail market size grew an estimated 30.1% to $182.4 billion in 2022. The rapid growth is predicted to continue, with a forecast of 85.5% growth between 2022 and 2026, reaching $338.4 billion in global apparel resale sales.

High levels of inflation are expected to continue throughout 2023, which will have a continued impact on consumer buying behaviors. The Conference Council’s Expectations Index, which gauges consumers’ short-term outlooks for income, business and labor market conditions, fell from 74 to 68.1 in April 2023. The most recent drop marks 14 months that the index has remained below 80, the level associated with recession in the next 12 months.

Total Retail Sales and Economic Impact

Both retail sales and their economic impact hold significant implications for small businesses and the wider economy. We found even more statistics to showcase the magnitude of retail sales and their influence on economic growth, offering a broader perspective on the sector’s overall relevance and importance in 2023.

Retail’s Contribution to the Economy

After peaking at 6.5% in 2005, the retail trade’s contribution toward the U.S. value-added gross domestic product dropped to 5.8% at the end of 2022. However, its contribution toward gross GDP increased at an annual rate of 2.6% in the fourth quarter of 2022, following a 3.2% increase the prior quarter.

Demonstrating the U.S. economy’s resilience amidst higher borrowing costs, retail sales at the start of 2023 increased by the most in nearly two years, boosted by Americans’ increased purchasing of motor vehicles and other goods.

Retail sales remain an effective measure of economic conditions. The data also offers a better picture of whether or not consumers are using their discretionary incomes. People simply stopped shopping when the economy collapsed in 2008, and retail sales hit 35-year lows.

In 2023, more than 21 million people are employed in the retail trade industry. While employment in the industry has averaged 3.6% annualized growth since 2018, retail trade employment is expected to increase by just 2.6% in 2023.

FAQs: Retail Statistics

What are the most important retail statistics for small business owners to know?

The most important retail statistics for small business owners to know include total retail sales figures, market trends and forecasts, consumer behavior and preferences, e-commerce growth rates and retail sales channels’ performance. These retail stats provide insights into the retail landscape, helping small business owners make informed decisions about product offerings, marketing strategies and sales channels. Keeping an eye on emerging trends and consumer demands helps small businesses stay competitive and agile in the fast-paced retail environment.

How can you monitor retail sales trends in your industry?

To stay informed of retail sales trends in your industry, monitor trusted sources, including industry reports, news outlets and relevant trade publications. Likewise, attending webinars, conferences and workshops can provide insights into emerging trends and best practices in the retail industry. Leveraging analytics tools to track sales performance, customer preferences and engagement metrics also can help you identify patterns and make data-driven decisions.

What is the future outlook for the retail market, and how can you adapt?

The future outlook for the retail market is marked by continued growth in e-commerce, increased emphasis on omnichannel strategies and evolving consumer preferences towards personalized experiences. To adapt, small business owners should focus on optimizing their online presence, investing in mobile and social commerce and embracing data-driven decision-making. By prioritizing customer engagement and personalized marketing efforts, retailers can ensure their products and services cater to their target audiences’ evolving needs.

How do in-store and online retail sales compare, and what does this mean for your business?

Both in-store and online retail sales contribute significantly to the overall retail landscape, with online sales witnessing rapid growth in recent years. While brick-and-mortar retail stores remain essential for many customers, e-commerce provides convenience, wider product selection and easy price comparison. For small retailers, this means adopting an omnichannel approach to engage customers across both physical and digital touchpoints.

Try to enhance your online presence, optimize mobile experiences and invest in seamless integration between in-store and internet shopping. Also, be sure you continue to focus on offering exceptional customer service, personalized experiences and competitive pricing to stay relevant and attract customers in this evolving retail environment.

What are the key retail market trends and technologies that you should be aware of?

Key retail market trends and technologies retailers should be aware of include the growth of e-commerce, the rise of omnichannel retail, the importance of personalized marketing and the increasing influence of social commerce on retail businesses. Technology plays a crucial role in retail, with innovations like artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, as well as mobile payments shaping customer experiences. To stay competitive, familiarize yourself with these trends and technologies, and consider integrating relevant solutions into your business operations.

How can you find information on global retail sales, and why is it important for your business?

Understanding global retail sales is important for your business as it helps identify international trends, opportunities, and challenges that can affect your industry. To find reliable information on global retail sales, access reputable sources like market research reports, industry publications and statistical databases, including publications from Statista, eMarketer and the World Bank. Following news outlets and attending webinars and conferences focused on global retail sales also can provide valuable insights.

What resources does the National Retail Federation offer to small business owners seeking retail statistics and insights?

The National Retail Federation offers a wealth of resources for small business owners seeking out retail industry statistics and insights. The organization’s website features research reports, articles and infographics covering various aspects of the retail industry, including market trends, sales forecasts and consumer behavior.

The NRF also hosts events, webinars and conferences that provide valuable networking and learning opportunities. By joining the NRF, small business owners can gain access to exclusive content, research and educational resources, empowering them to stay informed about the latest retail developments and make data-driven decisions for their small businesses.

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Samantha Lile Samantha Lile is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 3 years. She is also a freelance writer and journalist who contributes to a variety of web publications from her home office in the heart of the Ozarks.