In May 2021, we predicted total retail sales around the world for that year would increase by 6.0% to just over $25 trillion, a significant comeback from 2020’s lows.
Instead, the world produced a 9.7% growth rate, which kicked total retail spending up to $26.031 trillion—far exceeding our original expectations.
Hey, what’s an extra trillion here and there?
In-store sales rebounded by 8.2% last year, to $21.094 trillion, more than was spent in 2019. Pent-up demand from in-person shoppers accelerated the recovery by two full years. Remarkably, this quick transition back to stores did not constrain shoppers from matching our ecommerce growth expectations. Wallets were wide open in 2021.
This rollercoaster pattern in retail sales was nearly universal around the world. Retail sales went negative in 2020 almost everywhere; then they rebounded to heights not seen in years almost everywhere in 2021; and they will return to previously “normal” levels almost everywhere in 2022.