In-store retail sales rebound nearing pre-pandemic levels

According to The NPD Group, in-store retail shopping is making a comeback to a time before COVID-19, while online sales overall are slowing down.
Zachary Russell
Associate Editor
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In a good sign for retail and private label sales, in-store retail shopping has risen to nearly pre-pandemic, according to analytics firm The NPD Group. 

The group says that more consumers are visiting stores in person again, making up 64% of all retail sales in Sept. 2021, while e-commerce sales are slowing down. Since the rise of online grocery shopping during the peak of the pandemic, online grocery sales have since waned, but remained steady in recent months.

The report by The NPD Group comes after a successful weekend of holiday shopping closed out the month of November. Retailers in the club, grocery and online sectors all saw successful sales numbers for Turkey Wednesday, Black Friday, and the Cyber Weekend.

“Physical stores are more relevant today than they were before the pandemic,” said Marshal Cohen, chief retail industry advisor for NPD. “Consumers are no longer buying primarily out of necessity and limited to online shopping which fell short of some expectations — choice has reentered the equation and they are hungrier than ever for the experience of in-person shopping.”


Between April 2020 and March 2021, e-commerce year-over-year revenue growth exceeded 40% every month as the pandemic began, but it has mostly remained under 10% since that time. According to data, in-store gains over last year entered double-digit territory beginning in March 2021, only showing slight decreases in two of the six months that followed

Black Friday kept its ranking as the top in-store shopping day of the holiday season last year. Black Friday also retained a top three position when it came to the season’s e-commerce activity, while Cyber Monday fell behind Amazon’s Prime Day event in October 2020 as the top online shopping day of the holidays.

“Retailers can no longer be one-dimensional sellers,” added Cohen. “If it is not already apparent, the 2021 holiday season will only underscore the importance of making online and physical entities interconnect, in order to optimize the consumer connection.”