July Numbers: Retail Sales Boosted By Online Retail

July Numbers: Retail Sales Boosted By Online Retail

This week, retailers had a moment to rejoice when overall consumer spending in the retail sector was up by 0.6%, the biggest jump of the year, and showing a 4.2% increase from this time last year. Not bad from an industry that’s been plagued by high-profile bankruptcies and notable consolidations.

Those numbers really reflect healthy growth in two sectors, though (and no, it wasn’t brick and mortar mall stores), automotive and, not surprisingly, online sales. The car business has plenty of reasons to celebrate (with a 1.2% overall increase), and eCommerce led the charge with an impressive 1.3% bump.

Amazon’s Prime Day was so successful in July, it’s hard to imagine that those numbers didn’t have a huge impact. This year, the online retailer’s third annual sales event beat two major shopping holidays in 2016 (both Black Friday and Cyber Monday), and even beat itself. Amazon exceeded even its own expectations, scoring numbers that were 60% higher than Prime Day 2016.

A Mixed Bag of Good News

While analysts and investors were rejoicing at the news: physical retail probably can’t pop any champagne just yet. There was some good (department stores were up 1%), but mostly, the news for physical retail was a mixed bag. Electronics and appliances down (0.5%) and while sporting goods, books, music, and hobbies were up for the month (0.3%), their numbers are down for the year (4.2%).

Leading the charge in physical retail: Home Depot. Benefitting from a healthy housing market, the big box retailer saw its biggest gains ever in the company’s history, with sales figures hitting $28.11 billion (with net income at $2.4 billion). With numbers like that: one can hardly say that the big box store is dead, or even dying.

As we head out of the back-to-school summer buying season and into fall: experts remain skeptical that the upward trend will continue.

What’s Your Plan?

For now: let’s all keep our focus on the holiday season that’s coming up. Every year, comScore makes prepping easy with its annual holiday shopping report. In 2016, the biggest shopping days were:

  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Black Friday
  • Cyber Monday
  • Green Monday
  • Free Shipping Day
Day Desktop Spending ($ Millions)
Monday, Nov. 28 (Cyber Monday) $2,671
Tuesday, Nov. 29 $2,207
Friday, Nov. 25 (Black Friday) $1,970
Friday, Dec. 9 $1,688
Monday, Dec. 12 (Green Monday) $1,621
Monday, Dec. 5 $1,571
Tuesday, Dec. 6 $1,526
Thursday, Dec. 8 $1,419
Wednesday, Dec. 7 $1,374
Tuesday, Dec. 13 $1,372



Most sellers are already busy and getting ready for those huge shopping days and weekends. As usual: smart preparation includes product page optimization. Shoppers can’t find you if you don’t know what they’re looking for. Whether it’s in-person, on a desktop or smartphone: make sure that shoppers have an easy time finding you and your products.


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