In 2021, U.S. total retail sales, excluding auto and gas, reached a record high of $4.3 trillion, driven by U.S. consumers’ accumulated savings in 2020 and the stimulus checks that they received from the government.
By 2027, Forrester expects total U.S. retail sales to reach $5.5 trillion and U.S. online retail sales to reach $1.6 trillion.
Forrester expects online retail sales to grow at a 10 percent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next five years to account for 30 percent of the market by 2027.
In 2022, Forrester expects online retail sales to exceed $1 trillion.
Other Forrester findings with online retail sales growth trends include:
- In the pre-COVID years, 2019 and earlier, online retail sales grew faster than offline retail sales, resulting in the U.S. online market (the percentage of online retail sales out of total retail sales) continuing to increase yearly.
- In 2020, U.S. online retail sales grew more than double the growth rate of 2019. COVID-19 lockdowns forced consumers to shop online. The pandemic also accelerated consumer adoption of click-and-collect sales, which included buy online/pick up in-store and curbside pickup. Click-and-collect sales added to the growth of online retail sales.
- In 2021, that growth shifted from online to offline channels. As stores reopened and COVID restrictions were lifted, consumers returned to shopping in physical stores, resulting in U.S. offline retail sales (store-based retail sales) to see record-breaking year-over-year growth of 14 percent. Forrester said growth had not been that high for U.S. offline retail sales for 25 years. If 2020 was a breakout year for online retail sales, 2021 was a breakout year for U.S. offline retail sales.
- From 2022 onward, Forrester expects online retail sales growth to return to pre-COVID levels. The growth drivers of online retail, including lower prices, better product selection, faster delivery, and increased transaction convenience, should continue.