2020 US Retail Imports Exceeded Expectation Amid Pandemic

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Even with retail struggling through a difficult 2020 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a monthly Global Port Tracker report, published by NRF and Hackett Associates, suggests that the United States may still set records for retail imports.

These imports are measured in Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units, or TEU, which equal roughly one shipping container, and 2020 has been said to have seen a record 21.9 million TEU, up 1.5% from 2019.

These trends are expected to continue into 2021, as well – so what does that say about the state of the retail industry and the U.S.’s relationship with foreign goods and raw materials?

Jason Prescott, CEO of JP Communications, joined this MarketScale industry update with host Daniel Litwin to share his thoughts.

In the short term, according to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, “imports of goods increased $6.3 billion to $214.1 billion in November.” This growth was led by consumer goods, specifically electronics and household goods. Industrial supplies and capital goods also saw import growth.

Prescott & Litwin dove into how growth in consumer goods and electronics will drive retail strategies in 2021 and beyond, the impact of the U.S. embracing its role as an import economy, the top partners that drove record imports in 2020, and how retailers should be examining their supply chains with all of this information in the back of their minds.

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