21 Compelling Retail Statistics [2023]: How Many Retailers Are In The US?

By Jack Flynn
Feb. 23, 2023
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Cite This Webpage Zippia. "21 Compelling Retail Statistics [2023]: How Many Retailers Are In The US?" Zippia.com. Feb. 23, 2023, https://www.zippia.com/advice/retail-statistics/

Research Summary. From companies as large as Walmart to local businesses like your Uncle’s furniture store, you likely rely on the retail industry for goods and services almost every day. After all, who hasn’t had to make a pit-stop at Walmart or Target at least once, if not multiple times per month?

With that in mind, we’ve investigated the true number of retail stores in the US. After extensive research, our data analysis team concluded:

  • E-commerce constitutes 13% of total retail sales in the U.S., while physical stores still account for 87% of sales.

  • There were 1,045,422 brick-and-mortar retail establishments across the U.S, as of 2020.

  • The U.S. retail annual growth rate increased from 5.63% to 19.38%, from 2010 to 2021.

  • 73% of consumers prefer brands with personalized shopping experiences.

  • U.S. retail sales have reached over $4.44 trillion, as of 2021, an increase of 10% from 2020.

  • Total global retail sales are valued at a whopping $26.7 trillion, as of 2022, .

For further analysis, we broke down the data in the following ways:
Brick and Mortar Stores | Consumer Preferences | E-commerce | Trends
united states retail industry growth rate

General Retail Statistics

Given the sheer size of the retail industry in the U.S., it’s unsurprising that most Americans rely on it every day. From groceries to gifts, retail provides us with almost everything we need. In the grand picture, here are some interesting statistics about retail in the U.S.:

  • The retail sector is the #1 employment sector in the U.S., with 52 million jobs tied to it.

    Retail is the largest by far, with 9.8 million employees directly tied to the sector. Following behind are the education (7 million), local government (5.6 million), and healthcare sectors (4.7 million).

  • There were 1,045,422 brick-and-mortar retail establishments across the U.S., as of 2020.

    That’s an increase of over 4,800 businesses since the start of 2021, meaning that despite hardships, the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t prevented new businesses from cropping up.

  • E-commerce constitutes 13% of total retail sales in the U.S., as of 2022.

    The increase of e-commerce sales has been a growing trend, as that number was 9% in 2017 and only 5.5% in 2012. Overall, e-commerce’s share of retail sales is only expected to grow.

  • 71% of U.S. small business retailers have a website.

    With the growing relevance of e-commerce, more and more small retailers create websites. In fact, 44% of small business owners plan to create a website in 2021.

  • Walmart is the largest U.S. retailer by sales, making $430.82 billion in the U.S. alone (2020).

    Walmart is truly massive, with its U.S. sales making up 79% of its total sales. Meanwhile, the second-largest retailer in the U.S. is actually the largest e-commerce retailer: Amazon, with $187.27 billion in U.S. sales.

There are 1,045,422 brick-and-mortar stores in the United States

Retail Statistics By Brick and Mortar Stores

Despite the growing popularity of online retail, brick-and-mortar stores are still the most prominent shopping destinations. Here are the facts about physical retail stores:

  • Dollar General is the largest retailer in the U.S. by store count, with 17,348 stores as of 2021.

    While Walmart might be the largest retailer by sales, Dollar General is by far the most numerous. Further, Walmart doesn’t even make the top three for most stores, with Dollar Tree (15,375) in second place and CVS (9,813) third.

  • Retailer Number Of Stores 2020 U.S. Retail Sales (In Billions)
    Dollar General 17,348 $33.74
    Dollar Tree 15,375 $25.08
    CVS 9,813 $89.53
    7-Eleven 9,522 $18.25
    Walgreens 8,760 $104.70
    Alimentation Couche-Tard 6,784 $9.95
    Verizon Wireless 6,339 $15.49
    AutoZone 5,837 $10.70
    O’Reilly Auto Parts 5,594 $11.60
    Walmart 5,253 $430.82
  • 76% of people prefer to go to a physical store for holiday shopping.

    While the holidays have passed, most people still prefer shopping in-store for gifts, even during the pandemic.

  • Physical stores are still expected to account for 72% of all U.S. retail sales by 2024.

    Despite the popularity of e-commerce, brick-and-mortar stores are still going strong. While 74% is less than the current 87%, it’s still the considerable majority.

  • U.S. consumers spend 11% more time and money in brick-and-mortar stores, between 2020-2021.

    While e-commerce did take off in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a steady increase in the use of and amount spent at physical retail stores. It’s clear that consumers are eager to return to a more in-person version of shopping.

  • 94% of consumers have returned to shopping at physical stores, as of 2022.

    While masks and vaccines might be a hot debate, it’s clear that the vast majority of Americans want to return to shopping in person. In fact, only 6% remain strictly online shoppers.

Retail Statistics By Consumer Preferences

The retail industry wouldn’t be as successful if businesses didn’t pay attention to consumer preferences. With that in mind, we’ve gathered some vital statistics about what customers want:

  • Gen Z has the greatest online shopping preference of any generation, with 87.6% of shoppers preferring it.

    Overall, as generations get older, their preference for online shopping decreases. 67% of Millennials prefer it, 56% of Generation X does, and only 41% of baby boomers do.

  • online shopping by age

  • 87% of U.S. consumers now start their shopping experience online with product searches.

    And of that percentage, a massive 74% of consumers begin their product searches on Amazon, regardless of where they end up. That means that most shopping searches, online or not, actually begin on Amazon.

  • 70% of consumers use three channels or more when making a single purchase.

    While 86% of consumers will use at least two different channels. Overall, it’s rare for consumers to trust or be satisfied with researching a product on one channel. Searching on multiple channels can allow consumers to compare prices, quality, and other important aspects of the product.

  • 61% of customers want to try products in person before making a purchase.

    Another sign that many consumers still prefer shopping in person, 65% of consumers also prefer shopping in-store to avoid delivery fees.

  • 54% of consumers expect a personalized discount in a day after sharing information with a retailer.

    Another 32% expect personalized discounts within just an hour of sharing their information. These discounts generally work, as 44% of respondents agree they would become repeat buyers after a personalized shopping experience.

Retail Statistics By E-commerce

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, e-commerce took off in 2020. And while the number of people who rely on online shopping has decreased since, the popularity of e-commerce is still trending upward. Here are some interesting facts about modern e-commerce:

  • U.S. e-commerce revenue grew by 13%, from 2021 to 2022.

    At the start of 2021, e-commerce revenue was $767.7 billion, which has grown to $875.2 billion. With that in mind, the growth of the U.S. e-commerce industry has been very consistent since 2017, when revenue was only $425 billion.

  • There are 7.1 million online retailers operating globally.

    And of that 7.1 million, there are 1.8 million online retailers that operate in the U.S. That means that 25% of all online retailers in the world operate in the United States.

  • Amazon accounted for at least 50% of U.S. online retail sales as of 2021.

    That’s a 32% increase from 2016, when Amazon accounted for 34% of all retail sales. Surprisingly, Amazon’s year-on-year growth has been very consistent, regardless of the 2020 pandemic.

  • amazon's ecommerce market share

Even if you aren’t a cashier, retail is likely a huge part of your life. Odds are, your reliance on businesses for food, gifts, and a whole manner of other products won’t be changing any time soon. Knowing that, you might be wondering where the U.S. retail industry is heading. Here are the facts:

  • 68% of U.S. consumers now use BOPIS (buy online pickup in-store).

    While some stores had a BOPIS option before the COVID-19 pandemic, it didn’t gain major popularity until April and May 2020. For instance, Walgreens pharmacy implemented its first BOPIS option in May 2020.

  • From the pandemic’s start through 2021, the share of retailers offering curbside pickup has risen to 44%.

    For context, that number was only 4% in 2019! This growth is hardly surprising, as 85% percent of consumers have significantly increased the number of curbside pickup orders they make compared to pre-COVID-19 numbers.

  • The U.S. e-commerce market is expected to experience a CAGR of 13.5% between 2017 and 2025.

    Particular industries, such as fashion and food & personal care, are estimated to have CAGRs of over 14%.

Retail Industry Statistics FAQ

  1. What percentage of the U.S. economy is retail?

    5.7% of U.S. GDP is retail. What’s more, retail is responsible for 25.8% of employment in the country. That means statistically, one in four U.S. employees works in the retail sector.

  2. How many retail stores are there in the U.S.?

    There are 1,045,422 brick-and-mortar retail stores across the U.S. Furthermore, there are also 1.8 million online retailers that operate in the U.S. (25% of online retailers across the world).

  3. What store has the most stores?

    Dollar General operates the most stores in the United States, with 17,348 currently in operation. In second and third places are Dollar Tree and CVS, with 15,375 and 9,813 stores, respectively.

    Surprisingly, while Walmart is the largest retailer in the U.S. in sales, it’s only the 10th largest retailer by the number of locations. In total, Walmart has 5,253 locations across the country.

  4. Is the retail industry growing or declining?

    The retail industry is growing. In fact, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry is still growing at a steady rate. For instance, from 2010 to 2021, the U.S. retail annual growth rate increased from 5.63% to 19.38%.

    E-commerce has also grown more popular since the start of the pandemic, as from 2021 to 2022, U.S. e-commerce revenue grew by 13%. Further, the U.S. e-commerce market will experience an overall CAGR of 13.5% between 2017 and 2025.

  5. What is the future of the retail industry?

    The future of the retail industry is online. While online shopping is expected to grow in popularity, brick-and-mortar shops won’t be disappearing anytime soon. Physical stores still account for 87% of all sales, which is still predicted to be 72% by 2024.

    However, we can expect to see more curbside pickup and BOPIS options going forward. Believe it or not, before the COVID-19 pandemic, only 4% of retailers offered curbside pickup. From 2020 to 2021 alone, the number of retailers offering curbside pickup has increased by 44%.


As the number one employment sector in the U.S., retail plays a vital role in our everyday lives. In the U.S. alone, there are at least 1,045,422 brick-and-mortar retail establishments and 1.8 million online retailers across the country.

And despite the growing interest in online shopping, brick-and-mortar shops are still going strong. As of 2022, physical stores still account for 87% of all sales, 94% of consumers have returned to shopping at physical stores since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic has done little to hinder retail. From 2010 to 2021, the U.S. retail annual growth rate has actually increased from 5.63% to 16.29%. Overall, we can expect the retail industry to continue growing in the U.S.


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  2. Marketplace Pulse. “U.S. Total Retail Growth Rate.” Accessed on February 7th, 2022.

  3. NFR. “Retail Sales to Now Exceed $4.44 Trillion in 2021, as NRF Revises Annual Forecast.” Accessed on February 7th, 2022.

  4. CareerOneStop. “Industries with Largest Employment.” Accessed on February 7th, 2022.

  5. Cision. “28% of Small Businesses Don’t Have a Website, According to New Survey Data.” Accessed on February 7th, 2022.

  6. NFR. “Top 100 Retailers 2021 List.” Accessed on February 7th, 2022.

  7. Mood Media. “Shopper Sentiments.” Accessed on February 7th, 2022.

  8. Statista. “Online shopping preference in the United States as of 2017, by age group.” Accessed on February 8th, 2022.

  9. CSA. “Study: Most product searches begin on Amazon.” Accessed on February 8th, 2022.

  10. Business News Daily. “Shoppers Still Prefer In-Store Over Online Shopping.” Accessed on February 8th, 2022.

  11. Insider. “Shoppers expect more personalization.” Accessed on February 8th, 2022.

  12. Statista. “Retail e-commerce revenue in the United States from 2017 to 2025.” Accessed on February 8th, 2022.

  13. Digital Intheround. “How Many Online Stores Are There in 2021?” Accessed on February 8th, 2022.

  14. Statista. “Projected retail e-commerce GMV share of Amazon in the United States from 2016 to 2021.” Accessed on February 8th, 2022.

  15. Insider. “Almost 70% of US consumers use BOPIS.” Accessed on February 8th, 2022.

  16. HBR. “How “Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store” Gives Retailers an Edge.” Accessed on February 8th, 2022.

  17. Statista. “Retail e-commerce sales CAGR in the United States from 2017 to 2025, by product category.” Accessed on February 8th, 2022.

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Jack Flynn

Jack Flynn is a writer for Zippia. In his professional career he’s written over 100 research papers, articles and blog posts. Some of his most popular published works include his writing about economic terms and research into job classifications. Jack received his BS from Hampshire College.

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