Mastercard SpendingPulse: U.S. Retail Sales Grew 3.4 Percent This Holiday Season

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Retailers have much to cheer about this holiday season. According to Mastercard SpendingPulseTM, holiday retail sales increased 3.4 percent (ex-auto) with online sales growing 18.8 percent compared to 2018. Mastercard SpendingPulse provides insights into overall retail spending trends across all payment types, including cash and check.

“E-commerce sales hit a record high this year with more people doing their holiday shopping online,” said Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former CEO and Chairman of Saks Incorporated. “Due to a later than usual Thanksgiving holiday, we saw retailers offering omnichannel sales earlier in the season, meeting consumers’ demand for the best deals across all channels and devices.”

Mastercard SpendingPulse: U.S. Retail Sales Grew 3.4 Percent This Holiday Season

The Mastercard SpendingPulse report details holiday shopping from November 1 through December 24. Key findings of the report indicate that this was a winning holiday season for retail, especially for e-commerce:

  • Total Apparel saw a gain, posting 1 percent growth year over year. The category also experienced stronger than expected e-commerce growth, up 17 percent compared to 2018.
  • The Jewelry sector experienced 1.8 percent growth in total retail sales, with online sales growing 8.8 percent – supporting eCommerce strength. This trend started before the holiday season and helped the sector power through to its finish.
  • Department stores saw overall sales decline 1.8 percent and online sales growth of 6.9 percent, emphasizing the importance of omnichannel offerings.
  • Electronics and appliances were up 4.6 percent, while the home furniture and furnishings category grew 1.3 percent.
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