State of Retailing Today

Recent headlines have painted a dark picture of the retail industry. To be sure, Retailing is undergoing an enormous transformation driven by advancements in technology, changes in consumer shopping habits, and a legacy of overbuilt retail square footage in the United States. However, Retail remains one of the largest and most successful industries in the U.S. Economy. In fact, the National Retail Federation reports that there are over 1 million retail establishments in the United States alone, and Retailing remains the largest private employer in the nation.

Retailing directly & indirectly supports more than 42 million jobs, and contributes over $2.6 trillion to the U.S. GDP annually. The Retail Industry has continued to grow at almost 4% annually in the last decade, and between 4-5% in the last few years, according to NRF and government data.

Without a doubt, the growth of eCommerce has had an increasingly significant impact on the industry. Direct online sales (purchases made on a computer or mobile device and shipped to a home or office) make up more than 10 to 15% of US Retail Revenue, according to reporting from IHL Group and other prominent sources. However, the impact of eCommerce is even greater when purchases made on a digital device and picked up in a physical store are factored in, as these transactions are typically recognized in physical store revenue in financial reporting and only “tracked” as a digital purchase within a typical retail enterprise’s internal management reporting.

In addition, Forrester Research reports the continued growth in “digitally influenced” retail transactions, where a consumer researches a purchase online before consummating a purchase in a physical store, is also becoming increasingly significant. All told, digital shopping influences close to 50% of all U.S. retail transactions currently. In addition to the business impact of retail, the industry has also played a leadership role in areas that are critical to society in general.

From environmental sustainability, diversity & inclusion, economic empowerment, entrepreneurship and in philanthropy, retailing continues to be a force for positive societal change.

In short, the future of retail is bright, and our mission remains rooted in inspiring the future of retail – a large, growing and exciting industry.