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Changes in retail sales: Not by bread alone

The FRED Blog has previously discussed the impact of social distancing on retail sales for food and beverages. In today’s post, the pie graphs break down retail sales for items other than food and beverages.

The first graph shows consumer shopping habits in February 2020, before social distancing was mandated or encouraged across the U.S. At that time, the largest non-food category was motor vehicle and parts dealers.

The second pie graph shows the same categories of retail sales in April 2020, a full month after social distancing. Note how sales from non-store retailers, which include home delivery sales and electronic shopping, is now the largest category. You may also notice the category that has contracted the most is clothing and clothing accessory stores. Social distancing may have reduced consumer need for fashion, except for maybe “I *heart* social distancing” sweatpants.

How these graphs were created: From FRED’s main page, browse data by “Release.” Search for “Advance Monthly Sales for Retail and Food Services” and select “Advance Monthly Sales for Retail and Food Services by Kind of Business, Millions of Dollars, Seasonally Adjusted.” From the table, select each of the 11 non-food-related categories and click on “Add to Graph.” From the “Edit Graph” panel, use the “Edit Line” tab to change graph type to “Pie.” To show data from different months, edit the date above the graph canvas.

Suggested by Diego Mendez-Carbajo.

View on FRED, series used in this post: RSBMGESD, RSCCAS, RSEAS, RSFHFS, RSGASS, RSGMS, RSHPCS, RSMSR, RSMVPD, RSNSR, RSSGHBMS


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