The new year for the retail industry started on a high note, with overall sales increasing by 5.8% – the best growth rate since October 2020. Every retail category grew month-over-month, with nearly 11% attributed to core retail and 22% to online retail. At the end of last year, the delivery of stimulus payments began to reach households and helped boost spending among lower- and middle-income consumers.
Although core retail spending has seen growth, it is uneven across categories. Discount retailers, mass merchandisers and home improvement stores continue to flourish while apparel and department stores sluggishly recover. As consumers shifted more of their shopping to online, we saw four years of e-commerce growth compressed into a single quarter, as nearly 150 million people shopped online for the first time in 2020. Online sales remain strong but have retreated from their Q2 2020 high of 16.1% as the number of shoppers returning to physical stores increases. Colliers forecast online sales to represent 16.3% of total retail sales in 2021 as brands prepare for the return of the roaring ‘20s consumerism.
Source: Colliers Research