U.S. Retail Sales Grew This Holiday Season

Jamie Grill-Goodman
Editor in Chief
Jamie goodman

It seems retailers have much to cheer about this New Year’s, despite consumers having six fewer days to complete their shopping.

 According to Mastercard SpendingPulse, holiday retail sales increased 3.4% (excluding auto sales) with online sales growing 18.8% compared to 2018. The Mastercard SpendingPulse report provides insights into overall retail spending trends across all payment types, including cash and check.

While 3.4% is just short of Deloitte’s annual holiday retail forecast predictions, e-commerce sales came in at the top of Deloitte’s expectations.

 “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.”

The Mastercard SpendingPulse report details holiday shopping from November 1 through December 24.

Key findings of the report include:

  • Total apparel saw a gain, posting 1% growth year over year. The category also experienced stronger than expected e-commerce growth, up 17% compared to 2018.
  • The jewelry sector experienced 1.8% growth in total retail sales, with online sales growing 8.8% – supporting e-commerce 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% and online sales growth of 6.9%, emphasizing the importance of omnichannel offerings.
  • Electronics and appliances were up 4.6%, while the home furniture and furnishings category grew 1.3%.
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