Forrester: Offline retail sales to reach $4.2 trillion by 2028

Marianne Wilson
Marianne Wilson profile picture
woman shopping outside
Offline retail sales in 2022 reached $3.6 trillion.

Offline U.S. sales are flourishing. 

U.S. offline retail sales will reach $4.2 trillion and account for 72% of the market by 2028, according to Forrester’s new “U.S. Online Retail Forecast, 2023 to 2028” report, which covers U.S. total retail sales, online retail sales, and offline retail sales. (Offline sales primarily consist of store-based retail sales, noted Forrester.)

In 2021, U.S. offline retail sales saw record-breaking year-over-year growth of 14% as consumers flocked to stores as COVID-19 restrictions were lifted. In 2022, offline retail sales reached a record high of $3.6 trillion (excluding automotive and gasoline sales), driven by decades-high inflation, the report said.

“The offline retail sales growth momentum continued in 2022 from 2021,” wrote Jitender Miglani, senior Forrester analyst, on the company’s website. “U.S. offline retail sales grew by 6% YoY in 2022, much higher growth than pre-pandemic. As retailers offered more discounts to clear inventory backlogs, consumers found attractive deals in stores. Consumers also hunted for more deals offline due to inflationary pressures.”

From 2023 onwards, Miglani expects the core advantages of offline retail — tangible experiences, immediate gratification, physical product comparison, social interaction, and personalized assistance — will continue to drive offline sales.

“Social interaction has been one of the key drivers for offline retail sales in recent years,” he said, noting that nearly one-third of the US consumers surveyed in Forrester’s Retail Benchmark Recontact Survey, 2022, say that they enjoy getting out of the house and shopping in physical stores.

In other highlights from the most recent reportForrester estimates that click-and-collect sales (includesbuy online, pick up in the store” and curbside pickup)will exceed $100 billion in 2023. Thevolume of click-and-collect sales — which are being driven by the store — will double by 2028 to exceed $200 billion — and that year will account for 12% of US online retail sales.