Americans really did spend big this holiday season, with Mastercard SpendingPulse reporting a gain of 8.5% in spending in the last two months of the year. Jewelry, apparel and electronics sold especially well.
The company says online sales increased 11% from the November-December period of last year, confirming that consumers’ preference for digital sales is still growing. Compared to the same period in 2019, ecommerce sales are up 61%.
This year, ecommerce accounted for 20.9% of total retail sales, up a bit from 20.6% in 2020, and substantially higher than the 14.6% slice of total sales in 2019.
Consumers still do plenty of shopping in stores, even as cases of COVID-19 variants increased. Those purchases rose 8.1% in the Nov. 1 through Dec. 24period. And during the four-day period of Thanksgiving weekend, in-store purchases shot up 16.5%.
Clothing rebounded 47.3% compared to last year and gained 29% from 2019. Jewelry jumped 32% from 2020, and 26.2% from 2019. Electronics also emerged as a favorite category of Santa’s: Sales climbed 16.2% year over year, and 19.8% over the same period in 2019.
Mastercard’s calculations are based on in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment, including cash and checks. It covers the Nov. 1 through Dec. 24 spending period, and excludes autos, as well as travel and lodging.
The final numbers also prove that people did indeed start shopping earlier. When tracking the 75 days between Oct. 11 and Dec. 24, sales increased 8.6%.
“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,” says Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former CEO and chairman of Saks Incorporated, in the report. “Consumers splurged throughout the season, with apparel and department stores experiencing strong growth as shoppers sought to put their best-dressed foot forward.”