According to Mastercard SpendingPulse, holiday retail sales, excluding automotive, increased 8.5 percent year-over-year this holiday season, running from November 1 through December 24. Notably, online sales grew 11.0 percent compared to the same period last year, its preliminary insights show.
Mastercard SpendingPulse measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment.
“Shoppers were eager to secure their gifts ahead of the retail rush, with conversations surrounding supply chain and labor supply issues sending consumers online and to stores in droves,” said Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former CEO and chairman of Saks Inc. “Consumers splurged throughout the season, with apparel and department stores experiencing strong growth as shoppers sought to put their best-dressed foot forward.”
Findings from Mastercard SpendingPulse underscore the strength of the holiday shopper across channels, with consumers returning to stores (+8.1 percent YOY), and e-commerce continuing to expand, up 11.0 percent compared to 2020. Additional key findings include:
- Consumers shopped early: Continuing a trend from 2020, U.S. consumers shopped earlier than in years past, as retailers offered special promotions early and then again later in the season as shoppers secured “guaranteed by Christmas” shipping offers. Looking at Mastercard’s expanded holiday season, total retail sales were up +8.6 percent year-over-year (YOY) for the 75 days between October 11 and December 24.
- Thanksgiving weekend remained key: Black Friday marked the top spending day of the 2021 holiday season. For the Thanksgiving weekend running Friday, November 26 through Sunday, November 28, shoppers drove U.S. retail sales up +14.1 percent YOY. In-store sales also rebounded, increasing +16.5 percent YOY while e-commerce sales experienced sustained growth, up +4.9 percent YOY.
- Smaller boxes had a big impact: Whether consumers were shopping for themselves or for loved ones, the Jewelry sector experienced some of the strongest YOY and YO2Y growth.
- E-commerce sales snowballed: This holiday season, e-commerce made up 20.9 percent of total retail sales, up from 20.6 percent in 2020 and 14.6 percent in 2019. The channel continues to experience elevated growth as consumers enjoy the ease of holiday browsing and buying in the comfort of their own homes.
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