Study: The top five U.S. retailers by 2026 will be…

E-commerce will account for 30.5% of total retail sales by 2026, according to a report from Edge by Ascential.

E-commerce is shaking up the upper ranks of the top retailers in the United States.

Amazon will overtake Walmart to become the largest retailer in the United States by 2024, and add more than $294 billion in U.S. sales between 2021 and 2026, according to an annual report by Edge by Ascential.

The report predicts that the top three retailers in the United States by 2026 will be Amazon, Walmart and Costco, with 14.9%, 12.7% and 4.4% of the retailer market share, respectively. The Home Depot and The Kroger Co. round out the top five.

Edge by Ascential’s “2022 United States Retail Landscape and Go-to-Market Planning Report” also forecasts that e-commerce will continue to be the largest driver of U.S. retail growth and will top $1 trillion by the end of 2022. E-commerce will account for 30.5% of total retail sales by 2026, according to the report.

Other key findings from the report are below.

  • By 2026, Amazon is expected to hold almost 15% (14.9%) of U.S. retail market share. Walmart’s share will shrink to 12.7%, from 13.2% in 2021.
  • Costco will become the third-largest retailer in the U.S., and will increase its market share from 3.8% in 2021 to 4.4% by 2026.
  • Home Depot will become the 4th largest retailer, with a market share increase from 3.7% in 2021 to 3.9% by 2026.
  • In 2021, U.S. online sales rose 15.2% to $907.7 billion. Online growth was twice growth of overall U.S. retail sales, which grew by 7.6% in 2021, according to the report.
  • Online grocery sales will add $34.7 billion in U.S. sales between 2021-2026 and will make up 8.8% of all e-commerce sales by 2026.
  • As of 2021, online edible grocery penetration in the U.S. stood at 6.5% - with about 50% of that attributed to Walmart, Target, Kroger and Costco, all of which accelerated their edible grocery ecommerce presence and capability during the pandemic years.

“Inflationary pressures continue to cut into retailer margins, both in the U.S. and abroad, while rising labor rates, increased material costs and higher fuel prices across all supply chains impact suppliers, retailers and consumers,” said Deren Baker, CEO, Edge by Ascential. “Despite these challenges, data from Edge by Ascential shows that ecommerce will continue to be the largest driver of retail growth over the next few years in the U.S. and worldwide.”

Baker noted that Amazon has always taken advantage of its head start as a digital-first platform and has been a pioneer of almost all the growth levers associated with platform-based retail, from ‘subscribe and save’ through Prime membership to the evolving media and marketing services Amazon offers to brands.

“Therefore, it’s not a huge surprise that by gross merchandise value (GMV) sales, our AI-powered forecasting software on Edge Retail Insight anticipates Amazon to overtake Walmart as the largest retailer in the US by 2024,” he said. Edge by Ascential is a subsidiary of Ascential plc, which delivers specialist information, analytics and ecommerce optimization platforms to the world's leading consumer brands and their ecosystems.

The report was created with data from Edge by Ascential’s proprietary analytics tool, Retail Market Monitor, which can analyze the entire retail ecosystem by sector, geography, channel and chain retailer and identify growth opportunities for retailers and brands.

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