Annual Retail Trade Survey adjusted by preliminary results of the 2012 Economic Census is perhaps one of the most comprehensive information offered by US census bureau about the retail industry in USA. Looking at the trends from 1992 to 2013 that US census bureau published in March 2015, it is fascinating to see how the retail industry continues to grow but more importantly how shoppers’ spending continues to change. Below are key highlights:
1. Retail industry continues to grow in spite of some tough economic years
2. In total sales, electronics and appliances didn’t make the top of the list
3. Restaurant’s sales is growing faster than grocery stores’ sales
4. While nonestore retail is growing faster than restaurants, it is still less than 9% of total retail
Would your grocery store deliver your rotisserie chicken and cheesecake meal soon? When I joined retail, I was told: "never a dull moment in retail"! I agree wholeheartedly!
Needless to say that data and graphs should be interpreted with care because the above may contradict a report by the Washington Post indicating that people are abandoning restaurants. This contradiction is perhaps due to the source and definition of data. For example, some data may consider only eat out vs. eat out and drive through as eat out restaurant data; drive-thru volume is estimated between 50% and 70% of total sales. Some grocery stores have allocated "dine in" space while on the other hand some Braum’s restaurants sell groceries in combination with their fast food. Nonstore retail includes vending machines and mail-order sales not just e-commerce. Nevertheless, without a doubt, one can conclude that e-commerce will continue to shape the future of retail, and like other brick and mortar retail types of business, grocery stores may face increased competition from drive-thru establishments, restaurants, and consumers who find it more exciting and more convenient to eat out than to cook at home. But grocery stores can benefit from advanced food manufacturing technologies and collaborate with restaurants to sell ready-made meals or even prepare such "ready-made" meals for customers.