US Retail Sales Skyrocket to 9.8% in March, Thanks to Stimulus Checks, Vaccines
U.S. retail sales surged a whopping 9.8% in March, reflecting the economic recovery boosted by stimulus checks, an acceleration of vaccinations and an easing of restrictions.
Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for March 2021 were $619.1 billion, an increase of 9.8% from the previous month, and 27.7% above March 2020, according to the Commerce Department.
In addition, total sales for the January 2021 through March 2021 period were up 14.3% from the same period a year ago, according to the department’s data.
Economists had estimated a 6.1% increase, according to The Wall Street Journal.
This huge increase follows a disappointing February, when retail sales fell 3%.
“It’s no surprise that retail sales numbers are strong this month. With the vaccine rollout continuing and the economy in a better place, consumers are more willing to spend on goods — both in stores and through ecommerce channels, which continues to grow,” Margo Kahnrose, CMO of marketing intelligence company Kenshoo, tells GOBankingRates.
Kahnrose adds that online grocery is a great example of this, and a trend that’s here to stay — adoption of online grocery shopping is projected to reach 55% of U.S. consumers by the end of 2024.
“This morning’s report also shows that spending on clothing has increased for another month in a row — signaling consumers’ readiness to go back out into the world and take on this new, next normal. As we turn the corner to warmer weather and a greater level of confidence from the vaccines, we will see continued spending both from consumers and from brands,” she adds.
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