The final holiday push during the last two weeks of 2020, inching into 2021, each brought 13 percent year-over-year dollar sales growth, resulting in combined holiday 2020 season-to-date retail growth of 2 percent compared to the same 13 weeks a year ago, reports The NPD Group.

NPD’s Checkout data from receipts highlights the changes in shopping activity across the retail industry due to COVID-19.

The week of Christmas showed in-store purchase activity was 2 percent lower than it was in the same week in 2019 – the strongest year-over-year comp for the channel since store closures first occurred across the country.

Overall purchase activity during the final week of 2020 showed its strongest year-over-year comp the entire year at +7 percent versus the same week in 2019. Online purchasing, at +49 percent, showed its strongest year-over-year performance since Amazon’s Prime Week in October.

“Last-minute shopping was alive and well during Holiday 2020, and it’s not over yet,” said Marshal Cohen, NPD’s chief industry advisor, retail. “As gift card redemption and returns kick in through mid-January, not to mention post-season gifting delays amid delivery and gathering restrictions, the true holiday shopping season will continue to expand beyond any traditional measurement.”

Six of the Top 10 growth categories over Christmas week saw 20 percent or more of total seasonal dollar gains during the week.

The Top 10 year-over-year dollar growth categories, Christmas week 2020, for general merchandise, week ending December 26, 2020, versus 2019 were:

  1. Video Game Hardware
  2. PCs
  3. Fragrance Juices
  4. LCD TV
  5. Sweatshirts
  6. Sleepwear
  7. Sports Toys
  8. Games (Toys)
  9. Video Game Cards
  10. Fashion Dolls/Accessories & Role Play