As tough as the last year has been for retailers throughout Washington State, there is good news to share.
The economic fundamentals are solid for continuing recovery this year.
Washington is positioned for its share of a projected 2021 l national retail sales gain of between 6.5% and 8.2% as reported by the National Retail Federation.
Retailers have demonstrated that they can operate safely despite the 25% capacity limits for in-store shopping.
Numerous other factors support the optimistic hopes for sales increases this year. They include:
- The continued availability of effective vaccines against the coronavirus with more coming online as the year continues.
- High savings rates by consumers during the pandemic. National saving rates jumped from an average 7.5% to nearly 14% in the past year.
- Strong growth in online sales of 22% in 2020. Growth is expected to continue between 18% and 23% this year.
- Higher than expected overall consumer spending in 2020. The season’s historic 8.3% growth in 2020 holiday sales was the highest holiday growth rate in records going back to 2002.
- Sales are strong for new homes in the Puget Sound region and home values continue to climb.
These factors combine to give retailers real hope for a better year in 2021 as vaccines take hold and begin to reduce COVID-19 infection rates. As rates come down, retailers can expect consumer confidence to revisit stores to increase.
As the year moves forward, more retailers are pitching in by making their pharmacies available to help with vaccinations as supplies continue to increase.
Despite the challenges that remain ahead for economic recovery, it’s important to remember that consumers have demonstrated their willingness to spend. As the pandemic recedes, there are solid reasons to believe the recovery will continue.