The National Retail Federation (NRF) is upwardly revising its estimate on how much consumers will spend across retail sectors in 2021. The organization’s new estimate now stands at $4.4 trillion, and the NRF expects sales to grow between 10.5 and 13.5 percent above 2020 sales.
“The combination of vaccine distribution, fiscal stimulus and private-sector ingenuity 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. The pandemic was a reminder how essential small, mid-size and large retailers are to the everyday lives of Americans in communities nationwide,” says NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay.
Previously, the NRF forecast retail sales in 2021 to grow roughly 6.5 percent over 2020 sales. In particular, nonstore and online sales are expected to grow at least 18 percent to reach roughly $1.1 trillion in sales, representing roughly a quarter of consumer spending in 2021, NRF projects.
“We are seeing clear signs of a strong and resilient economy,” says NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “Incoming data suggests that U.S. economic activity continues to expand rapidly, and we have seen impressive growth. Most indicators point toward an energetic expansion over the upcoming months and through the remainder of the year.”
In April, sales at home improvement stores (NAICS 444) totaled roughly $619 billion, a 33 percent increase from the same period one year ago.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, first-quarter 2021 sales for paint, decorating and wallpaper stores (NAICS 44412) rose 5.4 percent from 2020 levels. Sales in March alone were nearly 18 percent above March 2020 levels, indicating paint and decorating retailers have an engaged, enthusiastic customer base.