The global retail industry is expected to follow an upward growth trend from 2021 following a tumble in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2021, the retail industry growth hit 12.1 percent, marking a massive rebound after it fell 2.8 percent in 2020, which experts attribute to a higher unwillingness by consumers to spend amid economic uncertainty. 

Looking forward, growth is expected to continue, albeit at a slower rate. According to analysts’ projections, the retail industry growth rate for 2022 is 4.7 percent—more than two times slower than the previous year. 

The retail industry’s growth is expected to slow down slightly next year. 2023’s retail industry growth forecast is just a fraction lower at 4.5 percent. It’s forecast to slow further to 4.2 percent and 3.9 percent in 2024 and 2025, respectively. In 2026, the global retail industry’s growth rate is forecast at 3.4 percent—the slowest growth rate from 2021 to 2026.

Overall, in the period from 2020 to 2026, the average annual retail industry growth rate is expected at approximately 4.3 percent as total retail sales worldwide rise from $24.7 trillion in 2020 to a projected $33.9 trillion in 2026.

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Top Global Retailers

The biggest drivers of the rising retail industry growth rate are the world’s largest retailers. Currently, most of the world’s top retail companies are located in the US and Europe, with more from the former.

The largest retailer, Walmart, saw a turnover of more than half a trillion ($538.2 billion) in 2021, way ahead of its closest competitor and ecommerce giant Amazon.

Here’s a list of the current top ten global retailers and their total retail revenues:

  1. Walmart (US): $538.2 billion
  2. Amazon (US): $330.2 billion
  3. Costco (US): $187.2 billion
  4. Schwarz Group (Germany): $158.6 billion
  5. The Home Depot (US): $142.3 billion
  6. Aldi (Germany): $134.7 billion
  7. Walgreens Boots Alliance (US): $121.3 billion
  8. Carrefour (France): $105.4 billion
  9. Alibaba (China): $105.2 billion
  10. Seven & I (Japan): $97.1 billion

US Retail Industry Growth Forecast

The US retail industry growth forecast for 2022 is at 2.5 percent, the slowest from 2019 to 2025. It’s expected to rise further to 3.5 percent in 2023. 

In comparison, 2021’s growth rate was 15.5 percent. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the US retail industry grew three percent in 2020, thanks to a surge in ecommerce sales (32.4 percent).

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