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For Immediate Release: Thursday, January 13, 2022

U.S. Retail Sales Top $5,570 Billion

Press Release Number CB22-TPS.03

JAN. 13, 2022 — Retail sales (NAICS 44-45) for the nation increased 3.1% from $5,402.3 billion in 2019 to $5,570.4 billion in 2020, according to new estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 Annual Retail Trade Survey (ARTS).

Electronic Shopping and Mail-Order Houses (NAICS 4541) had $888.5 billion in sales in 2020, up 35.2% from 2019. This was the largest year-to-year increase of any industry in 2020.

Other highlights:

  • Motor Vehicle and Parts Dealers’ (NAICS 441) sales decreased 2.4% from $1,237.7 billion in 2019 to  $1,208.3 billion in 2020.
  • Grocery Store sales (NAICS 4451) increased 9.4% from $694.3 billion in 2019 to $759.7 billion in 2020.
  • Gasoline Station (NAICS 447) sales decreased 16.6% from $513.5 billion in 2019 to $428.1 billion in 2020.

The Census Bureau has been conducting the ARTS since 1952. This survey includes 16,500 employer businesses that sell directly to consumers classified in the retail trade sector in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. It does not include data for businesses in U.S. territories. Firms without paid employees (nonemployers) are included based on administrative data provided by other federal agencies and through imputation.

The data are published on a North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) basis. They are used to benchmark monthly retail sale and inventory estimates each spring used by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and other federal agencies to develop related products.

The ARTS includes statistics for total annual sales, total and e-commerce sales, total and e-commerce sales by merchandise line for NAICS 4541, sales taxes, end-of-year inventories, purchases, total operating expenses and gross margins for retail businesses. Sales, inventory, quarterly e-commerce and state retail sales data are also available in the Monthly Retail Trade Survey.

No news release associated with this product. Tip sheet only.  



Julie Iriondo
Public Information Office
301-763-3030 or
877-861-2010 (U.S. and Canada only)


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