by Freedonia Industry Studies
October 16, 2020
October 16, 2020 - The September advance monthly retail sales report was released on October 16. One thing worth noting – for the uninitiated – is that this information is linked to sales by type of retail outlet, but that doesn’t fully align with sales of product categories in some cases. For instance, sales of sporting and recreation goods might be lower than one would expect because the data only count sales at stores that primarily sell these products and do not include items in this category that are sold at mass merchants like Walmart and Target, whose sales are classified elsewhere.
The September report shows growth over August sales across most categories, as the delayed back-to-school shopping season combined with a return to some delayed shopping gave most a boost.
The big winners overall for the year continue to be the same ones from last few months. However, even as they continue to show strength against same-month 2019 sales, they are increasingly off pandemic highs:
These are retailers that, for the most part, remained open during stay-at-home orders because they were considered “essential” businesses. Additionally, their product mix includes categories that continue to benefit from the shift toward staying home – e.g., home cooking over eating out and DIY home and garden improvements. Consumers are still largely limiting their shopping to these types of retail outlets.
Sales at sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument, and book stores – which saw rapid gains in June 2020 – experienced declines from that spike during July and August. Still, sales at these retail outlets saw decent gains in September with the back-to-school shopping and fall sports spending with sales up 5.7% over August 2020 and sales in September 2020 were up 14.4% from September 2019.
A few other highlights:
Economists and other interested parties – including Freedonia analysts – will be closely monitoring next month’s retail sales report to see the strength of sales in October, looking for the impact of the elevated infection levels in many parts of the country and shopping for Halloween and any cues to what the coming gift-giving season might look like if people start their shopping early as expected.
For more information and discussion of opportunities, see The Freedonia Group’s extensive collection of off-the-shelf research, including an expanding catalog of COVID-19 Economic Impact reports, which highlight how various industries are responding to the COVID-19 with a comparison to historical recessions. Food- and beverage-related reports are also available from our sister publisher, Packaged Facts. Freedonia Custom Research is also available for questions requiring tailored market intelligence.