90+ Retail industry statistics 2021 [Research Review]

Posted on 02 November, 2023 by Nicholas Rizzo

The global retail industry has seen significant growth despite the global pandemic. We have collected data from various reports, studies, and surveys to provide you with a comprehensive overview of this market. This market review also provides a glimpse of the market post-pandemic.

Global retail industry

  • The global retail market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7% from 2021 to 2025, growing from $22.4 trillion to $29.4 trillion by the end of the forecast period
  • The market grew by 10.5% from 2020 to 2021, increasing from $20.3 trillion to $22.4 trillion 

The U.S.

  • At the end of 2020, there are 328,208 brick-and-mortar retail stores in the US
  • According to the Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce, US retail sales increased by 5.2% from the 1st quarter to the 2nd quarter of 2021, reaching $1.7 trillion
    • During the same period, e-commerce sales increased by 3.3% reaching $222.5 billion, which represent 13.3% of the total retail sales
  • According to the National Retail Federation, retail sales in the US rose by 6.7 percent from 2019 to 2020 $4.06 trillion and is expected to reach $4.33 trillion by the end of 2021
    • 19.4% of the sales happened during the holiday season in 2020 which accounted for $787.1 billion in sales
    • Online sales grew by 22.6%, representing $206.9 billion in 2020 holiday sales
    • Online retail sales are expected to grow between 18 to 23% from 2020 to 2021, to reach revenues of $1.1 to $1.2 trillion
    • The NRF also expects that the growth in retail sales will open 220,000 to 300,000 jobs per month in 2021
    • By the end of 2021, the NRF predicts the GDP will grow from 4.5% to 5%


  • In Europe, fast-moving consumer goods (packaged food, beverages, toiletries, candies, etc.) saw a 5.5% increase in 2020 with the following countries experiencing the highest growth:
    • Germany - 12.4%
    • Ireland - 10.3%
    • Austria - 8.4%
    • Luxembourg - 8.0%
  • Meanwhile, sales of non-food goods decrease by 3% across the continent
  • Europeans spent 35.5% of their budget on the retail industry
    • Magyars are the highest retail spenders at 53.3%
    • Second are Croats at 50.9%

Latin America

  • In 2021, Colombia logged the highest retail sales growth in Latin America at 15.7% followed by:
    • Mexico: 1.8%
    • Brazil: 0.3%
    • Peru: -4.5%
    • Argentina: -8.8%
  • In 2017, retail sales reached $1.9 trillion and is expected to increase to $2.4 trillion by 2022
  • In 2020, Walmart opened 63 stores in Mexico and 19 more in Central America as part of a 22.2 billion peso ($1.09 billion) expansion plan
  • In January 2021, Brazil recorded lower retail sales of: 
    • Food and drinks from supermarkets by 1.6%
    • Clothing and footwear by 8.2%
    • Cars and building materials by 2.1%

 Asia Pacific

  • 50% of the global retail revenue comes from the Asia Pacific region
  • Retail sales in the Asia Pacific region was recorded at $5.5 trillion in 2019 but declined by 1.5% to $4.7 trillion in 2020; it is expected to recover by 2021, growing at a rate of 6.%
  • The top 5 Asia Pacific companies that experienced huge growth include:
    • South Korean Coupang Corp. – CAGR of 102.6% from 2014 to 2019, valued at $5.7 billion at the end of the forecast period
    • India’s Reliance Retail Limited – CAGR of 55.1%, valued at $20.4 billion
    • Vietnam’s Mobile World Investment Corp. – CAGR of 45.3%, valued at $4.4billion
    • China’s JD.com – CAGR of 36.3%, valued at $73.9 billion 
    • China's Vipshop Holdings Limited – CAGR of 28.1%, valued at $12.7 billion

Athletic apparel industry

  • One of the segments that saw significant change is the athletic apparel industry. Because most gyms and fitness studios were closed, the demand for athletic wear also declined.
  • Sales of sports and fitness apparel decreased by 8.5% in 2020
  • However, athleisure wear increased by 856% by the middle of 2020
  • The US athletic apparel market took a $7.7 billion hit 

Footwear industry

  • Unlike sport and fitness apparel, the footwear industry saw a sizeable uptick in 2020. Despite almost everything being closed in 2020: 
  • The global footwear market reached $384.2 billion and is expected to reach $440 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 2.3%
    • the sports shoe segment saw a revenue of $93.6 billion
    • trainers or athleisure footwear brought in $70 billion in revenue
    • revenue of walking shoes hit $8.1 billion  

Consumer behaviour

Shift to mobile wallets and online shopping

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has affected how consumers get goods. According to a recent survey:
    • By the end of 2020, 62.5% preferred to shop online
    • The use of mobile wallets in-store increased from 12.1% to 22.8% in 2020
    • Digital wallet use for online shopping also rose from 28.3% to 35.2% during the same year
    • 54% of shoppers said they have been influenced by something they saw on social media

The use of gift cards

In the US,

  • 90% of consumers who get gift cards from small businesses use them
  • 74% of consumers buy gift cards from SMBs
  • The minimum value of a gift card that would entice shoppers into visiting a shop is $0.88
  • 56% of consumers prefer receiving a gift card as a form of loyalty reward
  • Gift cards for casual dining are the most preferred by givers and recipients, 48% and 34%
  • 89% of consumers enjoy receiving gift cards from their employers as a form of reward
  • 60% of consumers prefer plastic cards or paper vouchers over digital gift cards

 Brick-and-mortar vs. online shopping

  • A survey conducted in 2017 revealed that consumers preferred buying in physical stores because they can:
    • Touch, see and try out items - 62%
    • Bring the items homes immediately - 49%
    • Return/refund items easily - 20%
    • Enjoy the social aspect of shopping - 18%
    • Have their questions answered by store personnels immediately - 13%
  • Items most likely to be bought in-store than online include:
    • Household essentials (groceries etc) - 58%
    • Home furnishings - 48%
    • Apparel and accessories - 39%
    • Personal care and beauty - 37%
    • electronics and appliances - 30%
    • Entertainment (books, magazines, movies, etc) - 15%

Data sharing

  • The number of people who are willing to share information with retailers varies by age and gender, but overall, 57% of shoppers are not willing to share their personal information with brands or shops
  • For the 43% of shoppers willing to share their data:
    • 61% do it to get discounts and special offers,
    • 61% are interested in loyalty programme points and rewards
    • 31% do so to get a more personalised shopping experience
    • 48% of men are willing to share their details while only 40% of women do to get
      • Discounts and special offers - 60% (men), 66% (women)
      • Personalised shopping experience - 33% (men), 59% (women)
      • Loyalty programme points and rewards - 65% (men), 59% (women)
  • When age is considered, people in the age group 25 to 34 are 66% more likely to share personal information followed by:
    • 61% of those aged 35 to 44
    • 57% of people aged 18 to 24
    • Only 20% of 60 and older buyers willing to share their information

Millennials are becoming savvy buyers

Based on a 2016 survey, millennials are more careful with their finances as 

  • 82% believe they only spend within their means
  • 63% buy only what they have on their list
  • 70% of brick-and-mortar shoppers live within the vicinity
  • 75% of shoppers would opt to buy from retailers that offer free shipping
  • 73% of shoppers said they bought things because of in-store beacon-triggered content

The use of online information

  • 65% of shoppers do an online research first before buying things in-store
  • 55% of these shoppers focus on user reviews
  • 47% go to the brand or company website to learn more about the product
  • 26% visited a physical shop to see the product
  • 23% talked to family or friends to know more about a product

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Use of content

  • If you have any queries about the retail industry, you may email Nick Rizzo at nick@runrepeat.com. He's also available to do interviews.
  • You may freely use the information in this article in any online publication. We simply ask that you include a link to this original source.






















Nicholas Rizzo
Nicholas Rizzo
Nick combines 10+ years of experience in the health and fitness industry and a background in the sciences in his role as the Fitness Research Director. During his competitive powerlifting years his PRs have him sitting in the top 2% of bench presses (395 lbs), top 3% of squats (485 lbs) and top 6% of deadlifts (515 lbs) for his weight and age. His work has been featured on Bodybuilding.com, LiveStrong, Healthline, WebMD, WashingtonPost, and many more. Along the way, collaborating with industry leaders like Michael Yessis, Mark Rippetoe, Carlo Buzzichelli, Dave Tate, Ray Williams, and Joel Seedman.