Retail sales are up 3.0 percent excluding. auto so far this holiday season (November 1-December 6), according to Mastercard SpendingPulse, which provides insights into overall retail spending trends across all payment types, including cash and check. Retailers’ heavy digital promotional campaigns appear to have paid off, with good e-commerce sales growth levels leading into the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and continuing straight through Cyber Week (December 2-6).

Notably, SpendingPulse insights show that:

  • Total retail sales are in line with the 3.1 percent holiday forecast.
  • The Thanksgiving holiday weekend (Thursday–Sunday) posted a 4.8 percent year-over-year increase across retail sales, ex auto.
  • Black Friday saw total retail up 4.9 percent ex auto compared to last year.
  • Cyber Monday saw total retail gains of 7.2 percent ex. auto compared to 2018.

Black Friday Couch-Surfers Escaped the Holiday Chaos
Cold weather across the US was one factor that helped online sales post strong results on Black Friday, especially during the traditional morning doorbuster sales. Department Stores outperformed on Black Friday compared to retail overall.

Cyber Monday E-Commerce Promotions were Merry & Bright
It’s no surprise that the day known for cyber deals was an outsized day for e-commerce. Total retail sales (in-store and e-commerce) on Cyber Monday grew 7.2 percent, with e-commerce growing at 27.6 percent. E-commerce on Cyber Monday accounted for 24.4 percent of all retail sales and significantly more for certain sectors. For instance, for Apparel, e-commerce accounted for 72.2 percent of all Apparel sales.

Cyber Week Decked the Halls with Deals
Our initial trends from Cyber Week shows a continuation of solid sales. Jewelry (+25.2%) and Apparel (+23.3%), in particular, led the way in terms of e-commerce sales growth.

“This year retail spend has been on the rise, influenced by cyber deals which continue to impact holiday spend beyond traditional days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” said Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former CEO and Chairman of Saks Incorporated. “We’ve seen e-commerce grow 14.4% so far this holiday season*, with  Jewelry and Apparel leading the way  respectively during Cyber Week.”

Said Sadove, “As we approach the final few weeks of the holiday season, we expect to see the US consumer’s continued appetite for deals and last-minute sales—setting up for a strong final push through the 2019 holidays.”