United States Retail January 2021

United States

United States: Retail sales rebound robustly in January

February 17, 2021

Retail sales soared 5.3% in month-on-month seasonally-adjusted terms in January, contrasting December's 1.0% decrease and marked the strongest rise since June 2020. The rebound was driven by a broad-based increase among all sectors, but sales at electronics and appliances, motor vehicle and parts dealers, and food services stores jumped notably in January compared to the previous month.

On an annual basis, retail sales rose 7.4% in January (December: +2.5% yoy), the best result since September 2011. Meanwhile, annual average retail sales growth rose to 0.6% in January (December: +0.4%).

Commenting on January’s print, Maria Solovieva, senior economist at TD Economics, noted:

“The latest income support measures and almost $2.4 trillion in accumulated savings provided a firm footing for American consumers to loosen their purse strings and make up for a muted holiday retail season. Retail sales are likely to continue to experience solid growth. […] Congress is working on another deal to provide more support to households. There is no official deadline, but it could be enacted before the expiration of the extended unemployment benefits in mid-March. Almost half the package is penciled in for direct support or extension of unemployment benefits, which should augment spending further.” 

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists see private consumption growing 4.3% in 2021, which is up 0.2 percentage points from last month’s forecast. For 2022, the panel sees private consumption increasing 3.1%.


Author:, Economist

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United States Retail January 2021

Note: Month-on-month and year-on-year variation of nominal retail sales in %.
Source: United States Census Bureau.


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