NRF Hosts State of Retail and Consumer Event and Announces Annual Sales Forecast
National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay kicked off the second annual State of Retail & the Consumer virtual event, which also announced the release of its annual retail forecast for 2022.
the National Retail Federation held its second annual State of Retail & the Consumer virtual event on March 15, which explored the American consumer and key behavioral trends that have developed during the pandemic and its aftermath.
The virtual conference brought together industry experts, retail CEOs and market researchers who discussed the current retail market climate. The main takeaways were:
• Pent-up demand will continue to drive and hold spending steady as people venture out again,
• the ability of retailers to offer solutions to customers in a flexible way will be a definition of success, and
• how the role of ambitious freelancers as a group increases in influence and purchasing power
The NRF also released its annual forecast and expects retail sales to grow between 6% and 8% to more than $4.86 trillion this year. Out-of-store and online sales year-over-year are expected to increase 11-13% as customers continue to use e-commerce. The 2022 figure is down from the annual growth rate of 14% in 2021, the highest growth rate recorded in more than 20 years. This year’s forecast is higher than the 10-year growth rate of 3.7% before the pandemic.
“The NRF expects retail sales to grow in 2022 as consumers are willing to spend and have the resources to do so,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “We should see sustained growth this year given consumer confidence to continue this expansion, despite risks from inflation, COVID-19 and geopolitical threats.”
Retail sales are expected to remain strong as the economy continues to open up further after the lifting of pandemic restrictions. The NRF continues to anticipate job and wage growth as unemployment continues to fall. NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said more incoming data is expected in the coming months, and there are other uncertainties that the NRF will continue to monitor.
“Most households have never experienced such a high level of inflation, and it is expected to remain high through 2023,” Kleinhenz said. “In addition to inflation, forces impacting the economy include the impacts of COVID-19, international tensions and policy variability.”