US retail sales have grown steadily over the past decade. In 2011, total US retail sales amounted to $4.10 trillion. Fast forward to 2020, and that number has grown to $5.58 trillion—the highest US retail sales recorded in a calendar year so far. This is a 36 percent increase over nine years. 

US retail sales have been on a steady increase since breaching the $5 trillion mark for the very first time in history in 2017, registering an average annual growth rate of 3.66 percent.

The smallest year-over-year increase of the past decade came in 2015 when US retail sales grew by a relatively meager 1.89 percent. In contrast, the strongest annual growth came in 2011. At just over $4.1 trillion, it marked a whopping 7.48 percent jump.

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US Retail Sales During the Coronavirus Pandemic in 2020

Even though US retail sales have been growing steadily over the past decade, there was a slowdown to this growth in early 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic in comparison to previous years. 

For instance, the average annual growth rate from 2016 to 2020 is 3.4 percent, while 2020’s increase was fractionally lower at 3.09 percent.

The slowdown was most evident in the US retail sales statistics from April 2020, where sales fell to $380 billion. This was a 12.5 percent fall from the previous month and a 15.3 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.

However, US consumer sentiment has since been on the rebound. The last two quarters of the year saw rising retail sales, increasing around seven percent year-over-year for both quarters. 

And despite slight month-to-month dips in Q4 2020, the quarter still registered 6.9 percent more sales than the previous year, which is in line with the record holiday retail sales in the US. 

US Retail Sales in 2021

Retail sales growth has been even more significant in 2021, totaling $4.9 trillion in the first three quarters. 

Not only is this a 19.2 percent annual increase from the same period 2020, but Q3 2021 is also when US retail sales recorded its highest ever monthly sales in November 2021 when total sales hit over $566.1 billion.

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