NRF: US Retail Sales to Grow Between 6.5 and 8.2 Percent in 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts that U.S. retail sales will grow anywhere from 6.5 percent to 8.2 percent this year, with a total of more than $4.3 trillion in sales. The NRF attributes the expected growth in retail sales to the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines over the course of the year, which will lead to stores to be frequented en masse.

Many Americans were homebound in 2020 and so in turn they shifted to a more e-commerce focus. Online sales grew by 21.9 percent last year to total $969.4 billion in sales. The NRF reported that overall retail sales grew 6.7 percent to $4.1 trillion last year. (The numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.)

E-commerce is anticipated to grow even more in 2021, with the NRF predicting a 18 to 23 percent growth rate and for online sales to hover around $1.14 trillion to $1.19 trillion. Additionally, the Washington, D.C.-based trade group expects the economy to gain from 220,000 to 300,000 jobs each month this year. Overall, the NRF predicts GDP annualized growth of 4.5 to 5 percent, up from the 4.1 percent annualized growth in fourth-quarter 2020.

NRF’s chief economist Jack Kleinhenz stated that the U.S. economy in 2021 is already looking promising due to high stock valuations, low interest rates, rising home prices and consumer savings.

“The economy is expected to see its fastest growth in over two decades,” said Kleinhenz. “Our principal assumption is that that the vaccination will be effective and permits accelerated growth during the mid-year.”

— Julia Sanders


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