Discretionary merchandise sales weren’t just tough in 2022 – they were awful


NPD Chart FULL 2022 discretionary spending by week

Port Washington, N.Y. – The NPD Group this morning delivered some hard truths about the cadence of discretionary merchandise sales in 2022.

Total unit sales of U.S. discretionary general merchandise in 2022 were 7% lower than the prior year. And despite getting a lift from inflation, sales revenue fell 2%.

This is how bad it was: Unit sales grew during just six of year’s 52 weeks.

Based on U.S. retailer point-of-sale information, 2022 general merchandise sales got off to a good start, with eight weeks of healthy year-over-year gains. Once the downturn hit in mid-March, only 11 weeks throughout the remainder of the year delivered revenue gains. During that period, the two highest-selling weeks took place during the mid-July retail promotions and over Christmas.

Outlook for Home Merchandise in 2023

Compared to the robust sales of home goods that took place at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, sales are expected to decline in many home and home improvement categories this year, according to Joe Derochowski, NPD’s VP and industry advisor for the home and home improvement industries.

However, he said, there will be opportunities to tap into changing consumer priorities. He expects consumers will settle into a more structured life “that still leans toward a home-centric lifestyle.” And eventually, they will need to replace or upgrade the products they bought during the early months of the pandemic, as some of those products are nearly three years old.

“Manufacturers and retailers should invest in product innovation and marketing to meet consuers’ ‘new normal’ needs and inspired them with new solutions,” said Derochowski.

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