Taxable retail sales hit record $145.9 billion in 2016

OLYMPIA – June 5, 2017 – Big gains in construction and new and used auto sales helped fuel a jump in taxable retail sales to a record $145.9 billion in 2016, a 7.8 percent increase over calendar year 2015.

Retail trade sales also showed an increase of 6 percent to $63.2 billion for 2016.

Taxable retail sales includes transactions subject to the retail sales tax, including sales by retailers, the construction industry, manufacturing and other sectors. Retail trade is a subset of all taxable retail sales in the state and includes sales of items such as clothing, furniture and automobiles, but excludes other industries, such as services and construction.

These figures are part of a quarterly report released today by the Washington State Department of Revenue (Revenue). The agency reports on a quarterly and annual basis the total taxable retail sales figures reported by businesses on their Washington tax returns. The agency uses Census Bureau classifications to report the sales revenues by sector.

Some highlights of 2016 taxable retail and retail trade sales:

  • Construction rose 14.4 percent to $28 billion.
  • Taxable retail sales reported by new and used auto dealers increased 8.7 percent, reaching $12.9 billion.
  • Lawn and garden supplies and equipment sales rose by 12.2 percent to $730 million.
  • Drug and health stores’ sales rose 17.3 percent, reaching $2.6 billion.
  • Taxable e-commerce and mail order sales increased 11.9 percent to $2.8 billion.*

See calendar year 2016 taxable retail sales and retail trade sales by industry

Of the top 10 most populated counties in the state, King and Thurston counties enjoyed the largest overall taxable retail sales percentage increase. Renton and Spokane Valley saw the largest increase of the most populated cities.

See more details on the taxable retail sales and retail trade sales by industry for:

Highest taxable retail sales – top 10 counties

Taxable retail sales Percent change Retail trade Percent change
King $59.5 billion 8.5 $21.5 billion 4.1
Pierce $14.9 billion 7.5 $7.6 billion 6.8
Snohomish $13.6 billion 7.7 $7.2 billion 6.9
Spokane $9.1 billion 7.0 $4.5 billion 5.8
Clark $6.5 billion 8.3 $2.9 billion 7.5
Thurston $4.9 billion 8.6 $2.4 billion 5.2
Kitsap $4.2 billion 8.2 $2.2 billion 7.2
Whatcom $3.9 billion 5.6 $1.7 billion 2.8
Yakima $3.8 billion 4.9 $1.8 billion 5.4
Skagit $2.7 billion 7.2 $1.5 billion 6.8

Highest taxable retail sales – top 10 cities

Taxable retail sales Percent change Retail trade Percent change
Seattle $24.3 billion 8.4 $6.9 billion 4.5
Bellevue $7.2 billion 6.5 $3.0 billion 4.8
Tacoma $5.0 billion 8.1 $2.5 billion 5.2
Spokane $4.8 billion 4.7 $2.2 billion 4.1
Vancouver $3.6 billion 5.2 $1.7 billion 5.9
Renton $2.9 billion 12.6 $1.4 billion 3.9
Everett $2.8 billion 3.7 $1.4 billion 5.2
Lynnwood $2.5 billion 9.7 $1.6 billion 7.6
Spokane Valley $2.3 billion 10.3 $1.4 billion 5.9
Puyallup $2.3 billion 6.9 $1.5 billion 6.7

Accessing more results by city or county

Check Revenue’s Statistics and reports page for additional detail about taxable retail sales and Quarterly business review 2016.

*The taxable retail sales reported in the e-commerce and mail order category do not necessarily include online sales made by businesses with a bricks-and-mortar presence. Businesses categorized by this NAICS code identify their primary activity as online or mail order sales.

# # #

The Department of Revenue is Washington state’s primary tax agency, nationally recognized as a trusted leader in tax administration and customer service. Revenue administers nearly 60 categories of taxes that help fund vital public services. It also oversees programs that return money to the public, including the Working Families Tax Credit and Unclaimed Property.