The State of Retail 2020: Marketing Trends, Shopper Habits & Online Shopping Growth

We love studying the retail industry so we can stay in the loop on the latest trends before they become mainstream! We’ve spent a lot of time collecting the stats below and believe we’ve covered many of the major areas of retail, shopping and online shopping. Enjoy!

Retail & Shopping Habit Statistics

Retailers rely on the spending behaviors of their end users, their buyers. When, how and how often their target market is willing to buy affects the sales and profitability, and ultimately the sustainability, of retailers. Here are some insightful statistics to know about the buying behaviors of customers in a retail space. 

  • 70% of total U.S. output is made up of consumer spending (The Balance
  • 20% of annual retail sales occur during the holiday season (The Balance
  • Average order values increased by 14% when shoppers incorporated artificial intelligence product recommendations (Forbes)
  • 20% of customers who return an online purchase in-store end up making an additional purchase with the retailer (Small Biz Genius)
  • 50% of consumers who visit a retail store in-person do so to feel and see the product before making their purchase online (Monigroup)
  • Spending on experiences increased 70% since 1987 (Small Biz Genius)
  • 44% of consumers aged 35-44 claim that they have access to a mobile wallet (Forbes)
  • 69% of customers said that attending events and experiences contributes to building better relationships with friends and within their community (Small Biz Genius)

Retail Transaction Trends 

Retailers rely on technology both in-store and online to deliver a smooth transaction process. Here we share some insights on how and how often these transactions occur in their retail markets. 

  • 648 transactions, on average, are processed by retailers in North America per month (Vendhq)
  • 482 transactions, on average, are processed by small business retailers each month in the United States (Small Biz Genius)
  • 73% of customers said that they use multiple channels to make purchases (Forbes)
  • Only 25% of major retailers bring in-store traffic (Monigroup)
  • 84% of customers said that they would leave their purchase prior to checking out on a website if they felt that the website wasn’t secure (Forbes)
  • Traffic increases 37% to a store’s website when a new store is opened (NRF)
  • Share of website traffic increases 27% within the market when a new store is opened (NRF
  • 25% of customer service departments plan on using virtual assistance technology (Small Biz Genius)
  • 56% of customers say that they prefer shopping in-store due to the ease of trying and experiencing the product prior to purchasing it (Monigroup)
  • 70% of consumers live within access to a brick-and-mortar store location of a retailer (Small Biz Genius)
  • 40% of retail employees are hired by small businesses (Finances Online)
  • 82% of customers use their phone to review a product or assist in making a decision about their purchase (Forbes)
  • 850 brick-and-mortar stores are expected to open in the next five years by digitally native retailers (Small Biz Genius)
  • 61% of customers begin making their purchase on one device and then finish their purchase on an other type of device (Forbes
  • 78% of consumers in the United States made a purchase through Amazon within the last 6 months (Finances Online)
  • 65% of consumers in the United States made a purchase through a brick-and-mortar store (Finances Online)
  • 25% of consumers said that the reason they prefer shopping in-store as opposed to online was the high shipping costs (Monigroup)
  • People in Gen Z are more likely to complete a purchase using a mobile wallet platform (Small Biz Genius)

Retail Marketing Stats

Retailers may have a great product or service to offer, but what if no one knows about what they have to offer? Marketing and communications is foundational to an effective retail strategy. Here are some interesting things to know about marketing practices by retailers. 

  • 14% of retailers note that their most important area to focus on is data-driven marketing  (V12 Data)
  • 16% of retailers put cross-channel marketing as their top area of focus  (V12 Data
  • 87% of marketers say that incorporating targeting for location leads to positive results (Forbes)
  • Internal sales data was ranked as the most useful information to evaluate performance (Small Biz Genius)
  • The behavior of in-store shoppers was ranked as the second most important kind of data (Small Biz Genius)
  • Customer data was ranked as the third most important kind of data for sale performance (Small Biz Genius)
  • 11% of retailers put mobile optimization as a key focus  (V12 Data)
  • 28% of retailer used artificial intelligence in 2018 (Forbes)
  • 78% of customers said that they would rather spend their money on an event or other experience (Small Biz Genius)
  • 33% of retailers noted that targeting and personalization as top marketing tactics in reaching customers  (V12 Data)
  • 75% of customers don’t always relate quality with high price points (Small Biz Genius)
  • 67% of customers claim they have downloaded an app provided by a retailer (Small Biz Genius)
  • 50% of those who downloaded an app by the retailer used that app to make at least one purchase (Small Biz Genius)
  • 65% of retailers identified new products as what they will invest in (Small Biz Genius)
  • 61% identified store associates as their main need to invest in (Small Biz Genius)

Social Media & Retail Stats

Platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest can be valuable resources in staying connected with customers. Here are a few things you might want to know about the influence that social media can have in a retailer’s success. 

  • 85% of online shoppers consult at least one search on social media prior to making their purchase (Finances Online)
  • 53% of customers said Facebook would inform their purchasing decisions  (V12 Data)
  • 41% of online retailers incorporate Instagram posts into their marketing plan  (Forbes)
  • 85% of transactions made through a social media platform comes from Facebook (Finances Online)
  • 30% of online shoppers would use Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat to make their purchases (Finances Online)
  • 31% of customers indicate that they simultaneously shop while scrolling through their social media platforms (Small Biz Genius)
  • The average order value from customers purchasing from a referral from Facebook is $55 (Finances Online)
  • 39% of consumers post about their experiences with retailers on their various social media platforms (Finances Online)

International vs. USA Retail Stats

Retail is an international concept that has grown in all regions. Especially through online and ecommerce platforms, the opportunities for retail extend beyond borders. Check out these statistics about how the buying and selling of products and services has gone global. 

  • Globally, independent stores earn an average of $28,094 per month (Vendhq)
  • Retailers in North America earned the highest of the regions with an average of $31,038 (Vendhq)
  • China serves as the largest ecommerce market globally (Finances Online)
  • 13.7% of retail sales were due to ecommerce platforms in 2019 (Small Biz Genius)
  • 3.7 million retail establishments are in the United States (Shopify)
  • 42 million people are employed by retailers in the United States (Shopify)
  • Retail is expected to grow 4.7% through 2019 (Small Biz Genius)
  • 52 million jobs are provided by the retail industry (The Balance)
  • $2.6 trillion in sales is attributed to retail companies (Small Biz Genius)
  • Retail sales have grown 4% annually since 2010 (NRF)
  • Average gross margin in retail is 51% (Finances Online)
  • Department stores have declined 50% from 2000-08 (Finances Online)
  • Small businesses earn on average $22,340 each month (Small Biz Genius)
  •  

Stats About Retail Industries

The field of retail is vast and diverse. With the definition of a business buying and selling goods to end users as buyers, there’s a lot of businesses incorporated in that. Here are some things to know about the different types of industries included in this foundational retail market. 

  • 13 categories of business make up the retail industry, as described by the Census Bureau (The Balance
  • Hardlines is a category of retailers that include things that have a long lifespan and last years, such as furniture or cars 
  • Consumables is another category of retailers that include products with a shorter lifespan and include common things like clothing items. It may also include health and beauty products. 
  • Food is another category of retailers that include supermarkets, specialty food stores and other liquor stores. 
  • Restaurants and hotels are also included in the retail world, described as a hospitality and leisure category
  • The largest category of retailers in terms of revenue and sales include auto dealers and other auto parts stores (The Balance
  • 5% net margin is often seen by distribution centers and building supply industries (Small Biz Genius)
  • 80% of customers shopping for jewelry would be interested in the opportunity to meet with a sales associate (Small Biz Genius)
  • Beverage manufactures have on average a 66% margin on their sales (Vendhq)
  • Liquor stores have the highest transaction count average at 1229 transactions per month (Vendhq)
  • $68 for every $100 spent at a local small business stays within the community (Small Biz Genius)
  • Retailers with more expensive items have lower transaction averages per month (Vendhq)
  • Pop-up shops generate $80 billion per year (Forbes)
  • $513 billion was attributed to retail and food services in November 2018 (Small Biz Genius)
  • 5864 stores in the United States closed in 2018 (Finances Online)
  • For each store closing, 5.2 retailers are opening stores (NRF)
  • 53% of Amercians shop at Walmart within a month (Small Biz Genius)
  • Walmart is the No. 1 retailer in business (NRF)
  • Amazon is the No. 2 retailer  (NRF)

Online Retailer Stats

Today’s technology provides unique opportunities for retailers to connect, innovate and continue their successful business. Here we share some stats about how going digital for retailers can help them stay relevant and connected to their customers and community. 

  • 13% of retailers said that they took on a digital-first mentality in their marketing  (V12 Data
  • The majority of retailers follow traditional marketing activities  (V12 Data)
  • 53% of customers would prefer that access to coupons came all through digitally (Forbes)
  • 51% of Americans prefer shopping online as opposed to in-person  (V12 Data
  • Conversion rates fall by 20% for each second delay in the loading of a mobile webpage (Forbes)
  • 48% of consumers who shop with their phone use a search engine to do their research (Finances Online)
  • 33% of online shoppers visit a retailer’s site directly in order to make their purchase (Finances Online)
  • 96% of Americans state that they have made a transaction online at least once  (V12 Data)
  • When shopping using a mobile device, consumers spend 32% less time shopping than when consumers use a desktop (Small Biz Genius)
  • 49% of consumers begin their search for a new product through Amazon (Forbes)
  • 81% of customers complete research online before finally making a purchase (Small Biz Genius)
  • 36% of consumers start searching for a new product through a search engine (Forbes)
  • 68% of retailers planned to open more stores in 2019 (Small Biz Genius)
  • 46% of retailers planned to close some stores in 2018 (Small Biz Genius)
  • 15% of consumers navigate directly to a retailer to look for new products (Forbes)
  • 67% of Millennials would rather shop online over shopping in-store  (V12 Data)
  • 56% of Gen Xers would rather shop online over shopping in-store  (V12 Data)
  • 87% of consumers said that their path to shopping began on a digital platform (Forbes)

Retail Consumer Stats

Chances are, you’re considered a retail customer. If you’ve purchased anything from a store or online, you’ve contributed to the retail industry. Here are some stats about customers and these retail platforms. 

  • 637 was the average customer count for retailers (Vendhq)
  • Shoe and cosmetic stores had an average of around 1600 customers, the highest among industries (Vendhq)
  • 71% of customers in rural areas prefer shopping at brick-and-mortar retail locations (Monigroup)
  • 80% of Americans shop online (Small Biz Genius)
  • 50% of online shoppers use a mobile device to do their shopping (Small Biz Genius)
  • Specialty food stores had the lowest number of average customers at around 300 (Vendhq)
  • 89% of consumers have shopped at a retailer that emphasizes bargains (Finances Online)
  • 52% of women said that they visit a store in order to see and try on an item before making their purchase online (Small Biz Genius)
  • 69% of a consumer’s discretionary income is spend in retail stores each month (Finances Online)
  • 60% of men said that they would visit a store to try and see a product before purchasing online (Small Biz Genius)
  • 55% of shoppers who buy online would prefer to make their purchases from a retailer that also has a physical store as opposed to only an online presence (Finances Online)

How Does The COVID-19 Pandemic Impact Retail?

In 2020, the world experienced and continues to feel the effects of the shelter-in-place orders, unemployment, border closings and much more. While the exact level of severity of this unprecedented context remains to be seen, it’s clear that it has wrecked the retail world. Here are some initial concerns the retail industry has seen so far in 2020. 

  • In the context of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, retailers saw an increase in online sales (The Balance
  • Retail sales dropped almost 17% in April 2020 (The Balance)
  • Clothing retailers saw an 80% decrease in April 2020 (The Balance)
  • Restaurant and bar sales plummeted 30% (The Balance)
  • Several popular department stores declared bankruptcy during this time (The Balance)

Moving Forward in the Future of Retail 

No matter the world’s current conditions, retail looks like it’s here to stay. With so many employed by the industry and its profound impact on nearly every other industry, retail stores are worthy paying attention to. Through innovative strategic planning in incorporating technology such as artificial intelligence and digital marketing trends, your business can stay current.