U.S. retail sales leaped by 9.2% YoY in January, with online sales growing by 62.1%, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse.
Stronger-than-expected holiday spending drove momentum in January. An infusion of stimulus payments also helped, especially in the first two weeks of the year.
The report covers both offline and online spending, but excludes the automotive and gasoline sectors.
Furniture & Furnishings spending grew by +16.6%) its eighth straight month of gains.
Specialty apparel leaped by 52.5 online -- although the sector remains down, with an overall decline of 4.3%.
And the beleaguered department store sector experienced a 1.5% YoY increase in sales, driven by a 27.8% gain online.
The growth covered all 50 states, with Southeastern and Western states driving the largest increases. In California, online sales jumped by 77.4%, lifting total retail sales by 7.9%.
“A big, bright note from January is that consumers are spending, states Steve Sadove, Mastercard senior advisor and former CEO of Saks, Inc.
Sadove adds: “While we know that consumers are also saving their stimulus funds and paying down debt, these numbers show that stimulus is helping to boost sales for retailers around the country”
The growth reflects the fact that for consumers, "e-commerce has emerged as a lifeline and a lifestyle," Sadove says.