The National Retail Federation (NRF) revised its forecast to predict even stronger 2021 retail sales growth. The NRF anticipates retail sales to grow between 10.5 percent and 13.5 percent to between $4.44 trillion and $4.56 trillion this year as the economy accelerates its pace of recovery.
(For context, retail sales grew 3.9 percent in 2019, the last full year pre-pandemic. And retail sales in 2020 grew 6.7 percent.)
Non-store and online sales, which are included in the total figure, are expected to grow between 18 percent and 23 percent to a range of $1.09 trillion to $1.13 trillion as consumers continue to utilize ecommerce. The numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.
The updated figure compares with $4.02 trillion in total retail sales in 2020. Of that, $920 billion was from purchases made through non-store and online channels.
The NRF announced its revised forecast during its inaugural State of Retail and the Consumer event.
NRF CEO Matthew Shay said the economy and consumer spending has proven to be much more resilient than initially forecasted, citing vaccine distribution, fiscal stimulus and private-sector ingenuity that have put millions of Americans back to work.
“While there are downside risks related to worker shortages, an overheating economy, tax increases and over-regulation, overall households are healthier, and consumers are demonstrating their ability and willingness to spend,” he said. “The pandemic was a reminder how essential small, mid-size and large retailers are to the everyday lives of Americans in communities nationwide.”
More information is available on the NRF website.