Retail consumption accounts for more than 60% in developed countries like the U.S. or the U.K. Analysts can predict whether GDP will increase, shrink or stay the same even before quarterly GDP numbers are released.
Retail sales in the U.S., U.K. and other developed countries have been falling for most of 2022. This is not surprising considering the many challenges facing the world economy year to date. These and other factors, including rising interest rates and the conflict in Ukraine have all contributed to higher prices and a decrease in consumer purchasing power. Analysts predict that most developed economies will enter a recession in 2023.
Despite this, countries that are primarily based on consumption, like the U.K. have fared relatively well compared to the rest of the globe. The majority of the developing world are in worse shape, so consumer-driven economies will likely recover quicker and kickstart global GDP growth. This shows that sustained retail sales can drive GDP growth despite inflation and other economic problems.
How can sustainable retail sales be achieved? And how can this approach keep the economy growing in spite of rising inflation?
Both the government and private sector can take multiple steps to ensure that retail sales are sustainable, even during difficult times. Here are some examples of successful techniques so far.
Consumer protection laws
Protecting consumers with targeted government interventions is one of the best ways for retail sales to remain sustainable in spite of inflation. The U.S. Inflation Reduction Act is a good example. It aims to protect consumers from rising energy prices. Similar steps were taken by the U.K., which caps how much electricity can be spent per family. This means that even though inflation continues to rise and interest rates keep rising, families still have enough money to buy different consumer goods and services.
Corporations are active participants in a sustainable consumer economy. Automation is one way that corporations do this. Automation has increased steadily since 2020 and is expected to accelerate in 2022. Due to rising costs, more retailers are automating their processes so that consumers can enjoy affordable prices. This is one reason retail prices are held at sustainable levels, even though inflation continues to push the cost of living up.
Reimagining the supply chain
A trend is emerging that the conditions in once-cheap manufacturing centers are not as good as they used to be. Since the 1970s, China has supplied most of the goods used in western countries. As China restructures their economy, the prices of goods have risen to reflect its domestic consumption.
Many companies have begun to move production back home, or to countries with lower production costs, in order to address this problem. Corporations that play a key role in the consumer economy can do this to keep prices low and maintain high retail sales.
Reuse and recycling
A growing consensus is emerging that consumerism, as we all know, may not be sustainable due to climate change. Companies have been adopting recycling and reuse in recent years to keep their products moving while reducing littering the environment. This helps to drive sustainable retail sales. It keeps costs low and ensures that the environment is protected for future generations.
In consumer-driven countries like the U.S. or the U.K., retail sales are crucial. Retail sales have been affected by inflation, but both governments and the private sector have taken steps to ensure that they continue to grow. They have implemented laws to protect consumer purchasing power, innovative corporate operations, change in supply chains, recycling, and other measures.