Despite the pandemic, subsequent recessions and economic uncertainty, one thing is for certain. Consumers are still consuming.
The latest 2022-2024 statistics and predictions below highlight just how much growth the retail industry is experiencing worldwide:
- Global retail market sales generated more than $26 trillion in 2022
- Analysts forecast this figure will reach well over $30 trillion by 2024
- The top 250 retail companies reported 8.5% year-on-year growth in retail revenue in 2022
- Apparel and accessories garnered the highest annual sales growth with 31.3% of market share
- The top 250 retailers achieved an average net profit margin of 4.3%
- 79 North American companies feature in Deloitte’s top 250 retail company rankings
- Walmart, Amazon, Costco, Schwarz Group and Aldi are the world’s top 5 retailers
- US retailers have sold $4.62 trillion worth of goods to date.
To date, the global retail industry remains one of the largest economic sectors in the world. It’s also the sector closest to world citizens who consume its goods and services on a daily basis. Now, as the world embraces its “new normal” this sector anticipates strong revenue growth on almost all fronts.
The facts and figures for the industry between 2022-2024 clearly illustrate how revenues, market share and current and future trends are shaping up.
Retail In Numbers
Traditionally retail transactions took place in land-based stores, but e-commerce has become an increasingly popular option. Some even say that due to the pandemic, online shopping is the dominant option, especially since this sector passed the $1 trillion mark in 2022. There’s no denying 2020 changed the retail landscape and buyer behavior, and today, many retailers are embracing the omni-channel model for this reason.
According to Statista, in 2022, the global retail market’s sales generated more than $26 trillion. This includes land-based and online retail sales of apparel, motor vehicles, food and electronics, amongst other consumables. Based on buyer behavior, analysts forecast that this figure will reach well over $30 trillion by 2024.
Deloitte has revealed that the top 250 retail companies reported 8.5% year-on-year growth in retail revenue in 2022, up from 5.2% in the previous year. Deloitte also reports that the apparel and accessories sub-sector garnered the highest annual sales growth with 31.3% of market share.
North American Retailers Lead The Way
In 2022, the top 250 retailers achieved an average net profit margin of 4.3%. Of the 250, there are 79 North American companies in the rankings. Together they hold a 48% share of global retail revenue and recorded 8.9% year-on-year growth.
In-store sales still accounted for the majority of transactions. The largest annual retail growth rates were enjoyed by apparel and accessories retailers.
The fastest regional growers are Neiman Marcus, Burlington Stores and Dillard’s.
The Top 10 Global Retailers
According to the National Retail Federation, Walmart is yet again the world’s top retailer in 2023, raking in revenue of $538.15 billion worldwide.
Amazon holds second place ($330.2 billion) with Costco in third ($187.16 billion).
German retailer of discount groceries, the Schwarz Group holds fourth place with $158.58 billion, and Aldi is in fifth place with $134.67 billion.
The rest of the rankings consist of The Home Depot, Carrefour, Ahold Delhaize, Seven and I Holdings and Ikea.
European Retail Giants
The Schwarz Group, the owner of the famous Lidl chain of stores, is Europe’s top retailer with revenues of $114.9 billion (€113 billion). Another German company, Aldi, holds second place with $77.3 billion (€76 billion) and France’s Carrefour takes third place ($74.25 billion).
Britain’s Tesco took fourth position ($65.1 billion)with Germany’s Rewe in fifth place ($64.7 billion).
The Chinese giant Alibaba is Asia’s most successful retailer, raking in $478.89 billion and well ahead of second-placed JD.com with $368.2 billion in takings.
Other top Asian retailers include Pinduoduo ($111.81 billion), AEON Group ($81 billion), and Seven & I Holdings ($77.32 billion).
Besides the top 10, what’s happening in other regions?
Africa and The Middle East
According to Deloitte, the 10 companies in this region in the top 250 have a cumulative retail revenue share of 1.3% of the listed companies.
South African retailer Shoprite reported that it had opened an additional 117 stores in 2022/23 and has set a goal to open 275 stores in 2024, with a 9,6% retail sales growth.
In the Middle East, retail revenue grew particularly fast in Turkey, at 31.6% with Steinhoff, BİM Birleşik Mağazalar and A101 Yeni Mağazacılık all showing double digit growth.
11 Latin American retailers are included on the top 250 list with 1,8% of global retail revenue share.
Latin America’s fastest-growing retailer is the Mexican department store El Puerto de Liverpool, which grew in year-on-year retail revenue by 35.5%.
The fastest growing market in Latin America is Chile, which increased its retail revenue by 18.5%. With retail sales expected to grow at an annual rate of 4.6% year-on-year, retailers will generate an estimated $31.3 trillion by 2025.
To date, US retailers have sold $4.62 trillion worth of goods to date. Let’s take a look at some retail categories to see what consumers are spending their money on.
Americans still love their motor vehicles and they remain the best-performing retail category in North America. In the US, retailers sold $900.6 billion worth of motor vehicles and spares in 2023.
The apparel sub-sector is set to grow the fastest from 2022-2026. The annual rate of growth of the fashion and apparel retail category is 8.7%.
Electronics will grow at a rate of 8.6% up to 2026.
Other fast growing categories:
Leisure and entertainment is also set to grow at 7.7%, along with home decor and do-it-yourself (DIY) at 6.6% annually. Additional fast-growing categories are household and pet care (5.7%), health and beauty (5.3%), edible groceries (4%), and food services (3.7%).
Across the Atlantic, the UK’s apparel and accessory retail category is expected to reach £65.63 billion ($79.24 billion) in 2026.
Concluding the retail industry numbers is the astounding expected figure of $29.3 trillion in worldwide retail sales for 2023.
Let’s move onto current and future trends to see why the top sellers are leading the way.
Global Retail Trends In 2022 & 2023
Since the pandemic, the majority of the world’s top 10 retailers have rapidly boosted their digital capabilities with in-store technologies or through enhancing their omni-channel offerings.
Enhanced Land-Based Retail Experiences:
More and more consumers are seeking an immersive and exciting experience when visiting land-based stores. The younger generation are more than happy to share personal data such as email address, age and birthday, and sex/gender identity to enjoy a better consumer experience and retailers are capitalizing on this as they need real-life traffic to drive sales.
This has resulted in the trend of personalization, where flagship stores offer augmented and virtual reality experiences for shoppers. Technology also helps land-based stores to offer personalized recommendations, loyalty benefits and product information at consumers fingertips.
Contactless Payment Options
Many retailers are also now focusing on contactless payment options such as QR codes and Scan & Go. This frees store representatives from checkout responsibilities, allowing them to concentrate on customer service.
Social Media Integration
As social media is such a major drawcard, many retailers are capitalizing on its popularity to attract customers and promote brand loyalty.
Back in 2020 Burberry opened its first social retail store in Shenzhen, China. Burberry, in partnership with China’s social media giant, Tencent, aims to leverage China’s love of luxury and social media and to build a loyal follower base that drives in-store sales.
Another example is Japan’s first Lush store that uses the #LushLabs app as the main source of product information and in-store interactivity. The store is also an influencer favorite due to its Instagrammable layout and packaging.
Even earlier in 2016, Chinese retail Giant Alibaba opened its first Hema store. There are now more than 100 of these stores in China and they all combine online and offline shopping into an easy and flawless experience. Customers can scan QR codes for exact product information such as the harvest date of foodstuffs, their source, and when they were delivered. Payment is made through the Hema app. And if that’s not impressive enough, the store’s dining experience is serviced by robots. Customers use the Hema app to organize a table and order items which are ushered from the kitchen to diners by robots.
Retail 2024 Trends To Watch Out For
According to Deloitte’s report on retail trends for the future, revenue growth in the retail industry will continue to focus on sustainability. The top 250 retailers in the world have shown significant growth, with the apparel and accessories sub-sectors demonstrating the fastest year-on-year growth.
Of the top 250 retailers, the minimum retail revenue was $4,5 billion, the average retail revenue was $22,6 billion and the top revenue was $57,7 billion.
Trends that will remain for the retail sector in the coming year include a tight labor market, the fallout from the war in Ukraine, and the continuation of China’s economic slowdown. However, China is expected to rebound later in 2024.
Together with the increasing use of industrial policy and sanctions, the economic disruption from climate change will only increase. India could be in for a boom as domestic consumer demand will continue its upward trajectory with its growing population (soon to overtake China, observers say). India’s percentage of trade in its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is lower than in other countries and the inflation rate is falling.
Growing Trend In Resale
The resale market is growing fast as consumers increasingly seek out sustainable buying options. The younger upwardly-mobile generation have made their views on buying used goods abundantly clear and they want to support brands that observe the same eco-friendly ethos. Many retailers have heard the call and are now offering resale platforms for their products for customers wanting this option.
For example, Lululemon’s Like New program allows customers to buy and sell their slightly used products. Other retailers with similar programs include Adidas, The North Face, Madewell, Fabletics, Eileen Fisher, REI, Bottom line and Patagonia.
Sustainability Focus Will Continue
According to Deloitte, the retail sector is responsible for 25% of greenhouse gas emissions. Fortunately, measures are being taken to reduce this impact.
Currently, four points characterize retailers’ focus on sustainability. These are:
- The resale market
- The need to implant sustainability practices across the whole supply chain
- The adoption of new technology in striving for sustainability
- Abiding by Environment Social and Governance (ESG-related) regulations and frameworks.
New technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) will also help retailers’ sustainability initiatives. Blockchain can help to track products and components,while AI will increasingly be used to design products for circular economies and cut out waste.
As the retail industry is expected to generate sales of more than $30 trillion by 2024, the sector remains one of the pillars of the global economy. While the pandemic may have changed buyer behavior and there are growing concerns about sustainability, the industry is pivoting and reshaping itself to continue its upward trajectory, both in land-based retailers and in e-commerce.