Retail sales jump 17.9% in 2021

Many industries see major gains in 2021

OLYMPIA, Wash. – June 9, 2022 –– After a slight decline in 2020, the state’s taxable retail sales showed major gains in 2021, reaching $210.4 billion – a 17.9% increase over 2020.  

Retail trade, a subset of all taxable retail sales in the state, also increased 16.1% for a total of $94   billion. Retail trade includes sales of items such as clothing, furniture, and automobiles, but excludes other industries, such as services and construction.

Taxable retail sales are transactions subject to the retail sales tax, including sales by retailers, the construction industry, manufacturing, and other sectors. 

These figures are part of an annual report released today by the Washington State Department of Revenue. 

Here are some sectors that saw increases in taxable retail sales in 2021 compared to 2020:

  • Taxable retail sales reported by new and used auto dealers rose 21.8% to bring in $16.5 billion.
  • Construction increased 16.2% to a total of $43.1 billion.
  • Furniture and home furnishings increased 25.9% bringing in $3.4 billion.
  • Building materials, garden equipment and supplies rose 11.5% bringing in $10.3 billion.
  • Taxable retail sales in general merchandise stores grew by 9.2% to a total of $13.5 billion. 
  • Apparel and Accessories sales increased by 41.1% to a total of $5.3 billion.

See calendar year 2021 taxable retail sales and retail trade sales by industry. 

Find out more information about taxable retail sales in:

Counties.

Cities

Some highlights of 10 counties and cities in the state:

County Taxable retail sales Percent change Retail trade Percent change
King $78.4 billion 17.2 $29.6 billion 15.9
Pierce $22.9 billion 17.8 $11.6 billion 17.4
Snohomish $20.3 billion 18.7 $10.3 billion 17.3
Spokane $13.9 billion 19.7 $7.1 billion 18.1
Clark $10.9 billion 20.2 $4.9 billion 18.3
Thurston $7.4 billion 11.9 $3.9 billion 10.2
Kitsap $6.3 billion 15.3 $3.2 billion 15.1
Benton $5.6 billion 20.3 $2.9 billion 19.4
Yakima $5.2 billion 15.8 $2.7 billion 16.3
Whatcom $5.6 billion 18.4 $2.6 billion 15.0

 

City Taxable retail sales Percent change Retail trade Percent change
Seattle $30.0 billion 16.0 $9.4 billion 12.9
Bellevue $9.4 billion 24.6 $3.9 billion 26.0
Tacoma $6.7 billion 17.5 $3.4 billion 17.9
Spokane City $6.7 billion 21.1 $3.2 billion 18.8
Vancouver $6.0 billion 23.8 $2.7 billion 22.6
Everett $3.7 billion 19.5 $1.7 billion 16.5
Renton $3.6 billion 24.8 $1.9 billion 24.0
Puyallup $3.1 billion 18.2 $2.0 billion 15.3
Kennewick $2.8 billion 18.4 $1.7 billion 20.1
Pasco $2.1 billion 21.8 $1.1 billion 15.7

Compare taxable retail sales numbers for all quarters of 2021 and previous years by checking out the “Retail sales for cities and counties” page.

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.