Altoona is Iowa’s destination for retail. With one of the area’s highest 2018retail spending totals, our city is drawing consumers from around Greater Des Moines.


Key Retail Indicators % Increase since 2012

Retail Spending is Happening in Altoona. Now.

During 2018, total taxable retail sales in Altoona were over $615 million, up over 40% since 2012. Average sales per capita (or how much the average person spends in retail in Altoona, annually) was $32,901, which is an 18% increase since 2012.






Cedar Rapids




Sioux City






Des Moines


Council Bluffs


Cedar Falls


The average sales per capita in Altoona is more than double the peer group average, and nearly 3x higher than the State of Iowa.

To benchmark, Altoona is compared to a peer group of 21 cities including West Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, and Des Moines. The benchmark comparison found that Altoona ranked 2nd among its peer cities in terms of sales per capita. Additionally, the average sales per capita in Altoona is more than double the peer group average and nearly three times higher than the State of Iowa.


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79% Growth Since 2000

Our Community is Growing. Now.

Population change is another key factor influencing local retail sales performance. Altoona’s population today is 18,699, and has increased 79% since 2000. The population in Altoona is growing at a far faster rate than Polk County, and a slightly higher rate than the State of Iowa.


Altoona is Where Iowa Plays. Now.

With Altoona’s prime location at the crossroads of America, and the entertainment attractions available, the City brings in over 4 million visitors per year. Altoona has a trade surplus (spending by non-resident visitors) of $351 million per year. This is up nearly 21% since 2014. Altoona’s trade surplus represents 57% of annual retail sales.



We are leaders in retail spending. Now.

While there is no data for retail spending by type of business for individual municipalities, the research does show how Polk County’s retail spending compares to the entire Des Moines MSA (which includes Polk, Dallas, Warren, Madison, and Guthrie Counties), and the State of Iowa. As shown below, Polk County outspends the metro and the State in nearly each category.

Type of Firm Polk County State of Iowa
Apparel 413 311
Building Materials 1,308 925
Eating and Drinking 2,120 1,397
Food Dealers 1,287 1,129
General Merchansdise 1,638 1,497
Home Furnishing 738 383
Specialty Retail 1,437 964
Service 2,928 1,763
Miscellaneous 1,416 1022
Motor Vehicle 806 620
Utilities and Transportation 1,393 1,236
Wholesale 2,272 1,256
25 or 64

8,601 Residents

Our people are buying in. Now.

Altoona’s population is primed for retail spending. Consumers aged 25-64 do more spending than other consumers, and consumers aged 45-64 years do the most.

Altoona has 8,601 residents between the ages of 25-64, representing approximately 46% of the entire population. Furthermore, 65% of the population in Altoona is over the age of 18.

SOURCES: Iowa Department of Revenue, Retail Sales & Use Tax Annual Report Fiscal Year 2018; US Census Quick Facts; Iowa Data Center; US Census American Community Survey 2011-2017.


For more information on Altoona’s retail environment, email AltoonaNow at To download the complete study, click here.