The National Retail Federation (NRF) anticipates that retail sales will grow between 4-6% in 2023, reaching between $5.13-5.23 trillion this year.
“In just the last three years, the retail industry has experienced growth that would normally take almost a decade by pre-pandemic standards,” says Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO. “While we expect growth to moderate in the year ahead, it will remain positive as retail sales stabilize to more historical levels. Retailers are prepared to serve consumers in the current economic environment by offering a range of products at affordable prices with great shopping experiences.”
- The 2023 forecast is above the pre-pandemic, average annual retail sales growth rate of 3.6%.
- Non-store and online sales, which are included in the total figure, are expected to grow 10-12% year-over-year to a range of $1.41-1.43 trillion.
- NRF projects full-year GDP growth of around 1%, reflecting a slower economic pace and half of the 2.1% increase from 2022. Inflation is on the way down but will remain between 3-3.5% for all goods and services for the year.
- The unemployment rate is likely to exceed 4% before next year.
Aggregate economic activity has held up well, despite restrictive monetary policy that is working purposefully to curb inflation, according to NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz.
“While it is still too early to know the full effects of the banking industry turmoil, consumer spending is looking quite good for the first quarter of 2023,” Kleinhenz says. “While we expect consumers to maintain spending, a softer and likely uneven pace is projected for the balance of the year.”