Christian retailers saw a surge in business in the first half of 2023, with sales rising nearly 10% over the same time period in 2022, according to newly released data from Christian marketing agency The Parable Group, coming out just ahead of the semi-annual Christian Product Expo in August.

Same-store sales from January through June, drawn from data provided by 220 independent Christian retailers, were up 9.7% compared to the same six months in 2022 with eight in 10 stores reporting increased sales, according to the release. The rise in total sales was driven by two trends. There were 5.3% more consumer transactions (receipts) in the six-month period and consumers bought more per transaction, pushing that up 1.6%.

Last year, religion book sales fell 6% overall from 2021 levels, the Association of American Publishers noted in a July report. Although the Parable report acknowledges that inflation was a factor in 2023's higher numbers, Greg Squires, president of The Parable Group, highlights Christian retailers' "incredible tenacity and adaptability, overcoming various challenges while continuing to serve their customers with unwavering dedication."

Randy Ross, Parable's senior director of Christian retail sales, said he expects the upward trend to continue into winter, pointing out that popular writers Ruth Chou Simons, Dr. David Jeremiah, and Anne Graham Lotz will have titles coming up. Strong backlists and a handful of new titles from key authors were among the top 10 titles for sales so far in 2023. The report lists:

1. Jesus Calling for Moms—Sarah Young

2. Good Boundaries & Goodbyes—Lysa TerKeurst

3. Experiencing God—Henry T. Blackaby

4. Jesus Calling—Sarah Young

5. God’s Promises for Graduates: Class of 2023— Jack Countryman

6. You’re Going to Make It—Lysa TerKeurst

7. All My Knotted Up Life—Beth Moore

8. He Gets Us—Max Lucado

9. Jesus Listens—Sarah Young

10. The 5 Love Languages—Gary Chapman