In-Store Sales Hit 64% Of All Retail Transactions

Article originally posted on Globe St. on December 6, 2021

E-commerce sales fell off to under 10% since restrictions began lifting across the US.

In-store sales accounted for 64% of all retail transactions in September, highlighting the ongoing relevance of bricks-and-mortar locations as the pandemic wanes.

Data from The NPD Group reveals that while e-commerce growth exploded during the pandemic – with year-over-year revenue growth exceeding 40% every month from April 2020 to March 2021, e-commerce sales fell off to under 10% since then, as COVID restrictions began lifting across the US. Meanwhile, in-store sales increases over last year hit double-digits in March 2021 and have only dipped slightly in two of the six months since then.

“Physical stores are more relevant today than they were before the pandemic,” said Marshal Cohen, chief retail industry advisor for NPD. “Consumers are no longer buying primarily out of necessity and limited to online shopping which fell short of some expectations — choice has reentered the equation and they are hungrier than ever for the experience of in-person shopping.”

Black Friday also remains relevant: the day was the top in-store shopping day of the holiday season in 2020, and was in a top three position for e-commerce sales. Amazon’s Prime Day was the top online shopping day of the 2020 holiday season, followed by Cyber Monday.


“Retailers can no longer be one-dimensional sellers,” Cohen said. “If it is not already apparent, the 2021 holiday season will only underscore the importance of making online and physical entities interconnect, in order to optimize the consumer connection.”

Retailers are also on track to open more stores than they’re closing this year: more than half of the brands surveyed by RetailSphere earlier this fall revealed plans to expand, led by grocery, fast casual, and value concepts. Those openings demonstrate “a reasonably strong appetite for in-person shopping exists on both the demand and supply sides,” Moody’s analysts noted in a recent report. “Retailers experience value in opening physical locations because it drives sales and influences consumer tastes and preferences. In other words, there is still money to be made in brick-and-mortar retail.”

Brands that sell products requiring in-person browsing are dominating retail openings, according to Moody’s, which cited Marshall’s and Home Goods as leaders. Store openings have also tended to be concentrated in areas with big population shifts.