Industry Guide: Retail


  • National Retail Federation – Insights section provides reports on consumer trends, technology in retail, and monthly economic reviews. NRF no longer publishing STORES magazine but industry-related content continues to be available via their blog and podcast.
  • NACS (convenience & fuel retailing) – fact sheets provide a high-level view of the industry with stats on store counts and fuel sales. State of the Industry and Compensation reports are available for purchase.
  • Toy Industry Association – site provides U.S. sales by category as well as the total global toy market size historically (source is NPD Group)

Consulting Firm Coverage:

Reports and rankings:

  • Top 100 Retailers (includes retail sales, sales per store, comp-store sales change, and the number of stores by company). Lists also available for Top 50 Global Retailers, Hot 100 Retailers
    *Source is Kantar Retail and is published freely via NRF.
  • Digital Commerce 360 (formerly Internet Retailer) – publishes databases and reports ranking top companies (500 or 1000, US or by region) by web sales.
    *cost starts at approx $700
  • NACS State of the Industry Report for the convenience and fuel retail industry includes benchmarking data and trends.
    *cost is approx $900 for non-members

Government Sources:

  • Census of Retail Trade – provides monthly, quarterly and annual stats for food services, manufacturing, and e-Commerce.

Trade Press & newsletters:

  • SmartBrief‘s retail options include newsletters from NRF, Shopping Center, RLA, CTA, GMDC, JD Power, RLA, NAW, etc.
  • Chain Store Age – newsletter and magazine subscriptions available, along with free content available on their site.
  • Direct Selling News – publishes an annual ranking of top 100 global direct selling companies (by previous year’s revenue). Top companies on the 2019 list include Amway, Avon, and Herbalife.

Research vendors:

  • Digital Commerce 360 (formerly Internet Retailer) – databases and reports ranking top companies by web sales. Other metrics available include % of e-Commerce by region, site conversion rates, % of traffic from email/direct/mobile/paid search, etc.
    *cost: starts at $700
  • Euromonitor – database and report options provide detailed product and category sales and projections by country. The executive summary (freely available) provides a high-level overview of the industry. They also publish reports on Cities, Consumer Lifestyle, Country Profiles, Megatrends, and Future Demographics.
    Example titles: Energy Drinks in the US, Refrigeration Appliances in India, and Consumer Lifestyles in Thailand.
    *cost: A category report for one country starts at approx $1k. Discounts are available with multiple purchases and the cost for their Passport subscription database depends on a variety of factors (number of countries, number of categories, level of detail, number of users).
  • NPD Group – Point-of-sale data from over 290k doors plus e-commerce and mobile platforms, along with data from millions of receipts, and consumer surveys. Custom data cuts are available along with subscription database products. You can sign up for their free monthly e-newsletter on key market trends and research here.
    Example titles: The Future of Apparel.
    *cost: $$$
  • Mintel – Consumer survey-based research that includes market sizing, forecasts, and consumer perception data. A purchased report comes with an excel databook, ppt presentation, and PDF.
    Example titles: Mattresses – US, and Beauty and Personal Care Retailing – Germany
    *cost: One-off reports start at $400 (category/country reports start at $2.5k), with subscription options available.
  • IBISWorld – Global and country-level reports by industry, these provide market sizing and revenue forecasts along with growth projections and a list of major players.
    Example titles: Liquor Retailing in Australia, and Hardware Stores in the US
    *cost: These reports are significantly less detailed than Euromonitor or Mintel, but are a more affordable option for quickly getting up to speed on an industry. A single report is approx $1k, and their ‘membership’ options provide access to more reports (currently 9) for only a slight cost increase.
  • Kantar Retail – Data Tools include options for accessing historic global data by retailer and channel (with forecasts), or shopper segmentation data from their proprietary monthly survey.
    *cost: $$
  • Nielsen – collects POS sales data from more than 900k stores globally including grocery, pet, cannabis, drug, convenience, and e-commerce. Custom data cut and subscription database/tools available.
    *cost: $$$

These are my favorites, what are yours?!?!
Please comment with your favorite retail-related resources along with any information you can provide on methodology, tips & tricks and/or cost. Thank you!

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