Retail sales more than double in 30 years

Total retail sales have more than doubled in volume terms since 1989, ONS research has found.

This compares with a 17 per cent rise in UK population and a 68 per cent rise in household disposable income per capita.

Over the past 25 years, food stores have consistently been the largest retail sector.

From 1989 to 2020, the volume of sales of sports equipment, games, and toys has risen by 451 per cent.

However, the volume of sales of alcoholic drinks, other beverages, and tobacco has fallen by 76 per cent.

Unlike the UK, retail trade volumes were actually lower in Italy and Japan in 2020 compared to 1995.

Online retail sales have grown at a substantially faster rate than in-store, increasing from a 3.4 per cent share of all retail sales in 2007 to 27.9 per cent in 2020.

The rise in online spending has been more substantial in both the Netherlands and the UK compared to other European countries.

According to the ONS figures, the retail industry is an integral part of the economy, making up 5.2 per cent of the UK’s GDP last year and 9.3 per cent of all employees in 2019.

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