US retail sales have grown steadily over the past decade. In 2009, total US retail sales amounted to $3.61 trillion. Fast forward a decade to 2019 and that number has grown to $5.45 trillion.

This is a 50.91 percent increase over a ten-year period and a 3.42 percent year-over-year growth from the previous year’s retail sales figures. 

Despite retail sales growth in 2019, figures show a slight slowdown in the year-over-year increase when compared with 2017 to 2018’s growth of 4.23 percent. In 2017, US retail sales breached the $5 trillion mark for the very first time in history. 

This is, however, nowhere near the relatively meager 1.90 percentage growth from 2014 to 2015 – the smallest year-over-year increase of the decade.

The strongest annual growth in the past ten years came in 2011. At just over $4.1 trillion, it’s a whopping 7.47 percent increase from 2010’s total retail sales figures.

US Retail Sales in 2020


US retail sales in 2020

Even though the total number of US retail sales continue to increase on a yearly basis, 2020 is seeing this growth come to a halt as a result of the coronavirus pandemic

This is evident in the US retail sales statistics of April 2020, where sales fell to $382.7 billion. This was a 12.66 percent fall from the previous month and a 15.33 percent year-over-year decrease.

According to official data, clothing stores were the hardest hit as their April sales figures plummeted 86.4 percent year-over-year. Furniture store sales also fell drastically by 58.7 percent from April 2019.

On the other hand, health and personal care retail stores marked an 11.1 percent year-over-year increase in sales.

However, consumer sentiment appears to be on the rebound. Retail sales rose back up to $448.2 billion in May, a 17.1 percent increase from April. This figure further increased to $476.9 billion in June, which is also the highest monthly US retail sales ever registered.

Overall, total retail sales in the US for the first half of 2020 closed at $2.67 trillion, a marginal 0.9 percent year-over-year decrease. 

Despite the slight slowdown in growth, analysts are still expecting total retail sales in the US to increase by between 3.5 percent and 4.1 percent in 2020.

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