Colliers Report: Tourism boosts retail activity in Charleston

February 22, 2022

Commercial Real Estate Research & Forecast Report
Q4 2021 Charleston Retail

Market Highlights

According to the S.C. Department of Revenue, year-over-year Charleston retail sales in November increased 20.3%. The success of retail sales in this market is largely attributable to tourism which accounts for $8.1 billion in economic impact. Charleston was named the “#1 Top City in the U.S.” and “#2 Best Small City in the U.S.” because it is a popular destination spot. Tourism increased hotel occupancy 35.8%, from 48.4% in November of 2020 to 65.7% in November 2021. Tourism likely contributed to the uptick of Charleston brick-and-mortar retail shops, evidenced by 175,980 square feet of positive annual retail absorption.

Click here to read the full report.

Key Takeaways

  • Increasing retail sales and traffic into Charleston brick-and-mortar shops bodes well for ongoing shop success
  • Charleston retail vacancy rates have steadily decreased over the past year to 4.12%


Brick-and-mortar shops are gaining momentum due to a preference to test or try-on items in a physical shop prior to purchasing, an easier in-person return process, and the potential for delayed shipping along with privacy concerns with e-commerce. Charleston’s positive retail environment will boost retail activity throughout 2022.