US NRB August 2022

Is August Showing a New Normal for US Retail?

Original release date: September 15, 2022

The US retail market experienced another impressive month with a growth of 10.4% for All Stores YOY, with All stores Less Automotive, Food, Pharmacies up 8.9% YOY.

Motor Vehicle and Parts Dealers seem to be recovering, with a growth of 9.5% YOY. We have been thinking about the new world of automotive retail a lot lately, so this stood out to us. Even though there has been little improvement in the wait times for new vehicles as a result of supply chains, so why the increase in revenue through August? We think it is a combination of the following:

  • Car and part prices remain high,
  • Finance and leasing rates remain high,  
  • Dealerships are learning to better anticipate the supply, in which case customer expectations are starting to align with the realities of purchasing vehicles in 2022.

There is no reason to believe that there will be an improvement in the lead time to purchase a vehicle, and customers are starting to understand this and ordering a new vehicle not when they need it, but for when they anticipate needing it.

Another interesting trend we are noticing is the growth of Building Material and Garden Equipment Stores, up 13.4% YOY. This is another category that is heavily influenced by the effectiveness of global supply chains, and may be a result of consumers and suppliers are finally aligning in expectation. With the drop in the housing market combined with the drop in the cost of renovations compared to earlier in the pandemic, homeowners are able to do larger renovations more realistically now. We suspect that this will, in future months, affect the Furniture and Home Furnishings stores (only up 0.1% YOY). This category is not performing to their pandemic high but will likely improve as customers begin to not only finish renovations, but spend more time indoors into the winter months.

The new reality of U.S. retail sales seems to be continued unprecedented growth. 2022 is tracking to have a growth of over 10.0% growth over 2021, which is very high even when considering inflation. Retailers are now out of the back to school season and moving into holiday planning. Mastercard’s SpendingPulse is predicting a 7.1% increase in spending over 2021 this upcoming U.S. holiday season. What we’re thinking about looking ahead is mainly revolving around holidays:

  • Will the customer be spending more or less this year on holiday shopping?
  • Who are customers looking to for the best holiday deals?
  • What categories will be the most sought after this year?
  • When will customers be aiming to finish their holiday shopping?
  • Where are customers going to be doing their shopping, will the uptick in brick-and-mortar stay true?
  • How have YOU prepared for this year’s holiday season?

Reach out to JCWG for support with your holiday plan and preparation for this year’s new holiday customer. Join us next month to see if September continues on the path of unprecedented growth.


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