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

In 2021, the retail industry growth hit 12.1%, marking a massive rebound after it fell 2.8% 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. In 2022, the retail industry growth rate came in at 4.7%—more than two times slower than the previous year. 

According to analysts’ projections, the retail industry’s growth is expected to slow slightly this year. 2023’s retail industry growth forecast is just fractionally lower at 4.5%. This is set to slow further to 4.2% and 3.9% in 2024 and 2025, respectively. In 2026, the global retail industry’s growth rate is forecast at 3.4%—the slowest growth rate expected 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% 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 10 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 2023 is at 3.5%, a rate at which it’s set to hold steady in 2024 and 2025. This also marks a one percentage point increase from 2022’s 2.5%.

In comparison, 2021’s growth rate was 15.5%. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the US retail industry grew by 3% in 2020, thanks to a surge in ecommerce sales (32.4%).

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