Retail sales hit $42.7 billion in second quarter 2018

Growth spurred by construction and sales of building materials

OLYMPIA, WASH. – Nov. 19, 2018 – A 17 percent jump in construction and increased sales of building materials helped boost the state’s taxable retail sales in the second quarter of 2018. The sales increased by 10.6 percent over the same period in 2017, reaching $42.7 billion.

Retail trade, a subset of all taxable retail sales in the state, also increased by 7.4 percent to a total of $17.8 billion.

Taxable retail sales are transactions subject to the retail sales tax, including sales by retailers, the construction industry, manufacturing and other sectors. Retail trade 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. The taxable retail sales figures compare the same quarter year-over-year to equalize any seasonal effects that would influence consumer and business spending.

Some highlights of second quarter 2018 (April - June) taxable retail sales and retail trade sales include:

  • Construction rose 17 percent to $8.8 billion
  • Taxable retail sales reported by new and used auto dealers increased 2 percent to $3.5 billion
  • Electronic and appliance stores increased 11.8 percent to $1 billion
  • Building materials increased 9.4 percent to $1.9 billion
  • Drug and health store sales jumped 6.8 percent to $780 million

See second quarter 2018 taxable retail sales and retail trade sales by industry.

Of the top 10 most populated counties in the state, King and Kitsap counties enjoyed the largest overall taxable retail sales percentage increase. Seattle and Puyallup saw the largest increase of the most populated cities.

See second quarter 2018 taxable retail sales and retail trade sales for cities and counties:

County Taxable retail sales Percent change Retail trade Percent change
King $17.3 billion 12.6 $5.9 billion 8.4
Pierce $4.4 billion 10.6 $2.1 billion 7.9
Snohomish $3.9 billion 9.6 $2.0 billion 5.4
Spokane $2.7 billion 8.9 $1.3 billion 7.1
Clark $1.9 billion 7.4 $828 million 5.3
Thurston $1.4 billion 5.2 $699 million 6.0
Kitsap $1.3 billion 15.2 $618 million 6.0
Whatcom $1.1 billion 6.2 $504 million 6.9
Yakima $1.1 billion 7.2 $505 million 6.1
Skagit $834 million 10.5 $434 million 4.8

City Taxable retail sales Percent change Retail trade Percent change
Seattle $7.2 billion 13.9 $1.9 billion 11.4
Bellevue $2.0 billion 5.7 $816 million 6.0
Tacoma $1.5 billion 8.6 $647 million 5.3
Spokane City $1.4 billion 8.4 $606 million 5.9
Vancouver $1.1 billion 4.6 $462 million 3.1
Renton $779 million 6.2 $378 million 2.7
Everett $753 million 4.4 $364 million 3.5
Lynnwood $653 million 6.3 $408 million 0.0
Spokane Valley $643 million 8.2 $379 million 7.5
Puyallup $640 million 10.6 $424 million 8.5


Check Revenue’s Statistics and Reports page for additional detail about taxable retail sales.

Understanding how businesses are classified

Revenue uses business tax return data to create this quarterly report. Businesses are categorized under the U.S. Census Bureau’s classification system based on their primary taxable activity. The North American Industry Classification System – or NAICS – is the same method federal statistical agencies use for the purpose of analyzing economic data.


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The Department of Revenue is Washington state’s primary tax agency, nationally recognized for innovation and quality customer service. Revenue administers nearly 60 categories of taxes that help fund education, social services, health care, corrections, public safety, natural resource conservation and other important services Washington residents count on.