Altoona is Iowa’s destination for retail. With one of the area’s highest 2019retail spending totals, our city is drawing consumers from around Greater Des Moines.

retail graphic

Key Retail Indicators % Increase since 2012

Retail Spending is Happening in Altoona. Now.

During 2019, total taxable retail sales in Altoona were over $650 million, more than 49% since 2012. Average sales per capita (or how much the average person spends in retail in Altoona, annually) was $33,774, a 21% 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 averageand 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 the State of Iowa.


four people one arrow

85% Growth Since 2000

Our Community is Growing. Now.

Population change is another key factor influencing local retail sales performance. Altoona’s population today is 19,250, and has increased 85% 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 $384 million per year. This is up nearly 33% since 2015. Altoona’s trade surplus represents 59% 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 every category.

Type of Firm Polk County State of Iowa
Apparel 458 313
Building Materials 1,303 929
Eating and Drinking 2,158 1,435
Food Dealers 1,319 1,153
General Merchandise 1,526 1,462
Home Furnishing 739 374
Specialty Retail 1,453 978
Service 3,220 1,848
Miscellaneous 1,449 1,077
Motor Vehicle 859 648
Utilities and Transportation 1,336 1,260
Wholesale 2,166 1,241
25 or 64

18,844 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.

Approximately 60% of Altoona’s population is between the ages of 18-64 years old. Furthermore, 72% of the population in Altoona is over the age of 18.

SOURCES: Iowa Department of Revenue, Retail Sales & Use Tax Annual Report Fiscal Year 2019; US Census Quick Facts; Iowa Data Center; US Census American Community Survey 2011-2018.


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