The National Retail Federation (NRF) released its annual forecast, predicting a 6 to 8 percent growth in U.S. retail sales to more than $4.86 trillion in 2022. Nonstore and online sales year-over-year, which are included in the total figure, are expected to grow between 11 percent and 13 percent to a range of $1.17 trillion to $1.19 trillion as consumers continue to utilize e-commerce. The 2022 figure compares with a 14 percent annual growth rate in 2021, the highest growth rate in more than 20 years.
“While retail revenue forecasts remain strong, we must stay vigilant. There is still so much uncertainty and risk ahead,” says Dave Bruno, director of retail market insights at retail technology provider Aptos. “Retailers should prepare for the uncertain months ahead by focusing on the one thing they can control: the customer experience. Retailers who empower shoppers with convenience, flexibility, transparency and timely communications throughout every journey will earn the confidence of their customers and thereby encourage more purchases, more often.”
February year-over-year sales showed strong gains, but monthly sales were down compared to January’s numbers because of continuing supply chain issues and inflation. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, overall retail sales in February were up 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted, while January’s sales were up 4.9 percent. February’s year-over-year sales were up 17.6 percent compared to January’s 14 percent year-over-year increase. Building materials and garden supply stores were up 0.9 percent month-over-month seasonally adjusted and up 14.9 percent unadjusted year-over-year.
“Retail sales data continues to show impressive consumer resilience. Despite all that’s been thrown at them, including inflation, supply chain constraints, market volatility and significant geopolitical events, consumers remain able and willing to spend,” says NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “Retailers are nimble and are dedicated to serving their customers with great experiences, great products and services at the best possible prices they can. Consumer financial health can continue if current pressures in the economy are moderated by sound policy decisions that do not compound the challenges our economy is already facing.”