Hot And Cold February: Ecommerce Sales Rose By 13.2% As Consumers Stayed Home

It’s time to get those spring emails out. 

Consumers are spending again, at least according to one measure: Mastercard SpendingPulse. 

The ongoing tracking study found that U.S. retail sales rose by +6.9% YoY in the month of February, including both in-store and online. Automotive is excluded. 

“Following a dynamic holiday season, consumer spending returned to a familiar and healthy balance in February,” says Steve Sadove, Mastercard senior advisor and former CEO of Saks, Inc. 

Sadove adds: "Consumers have remained resilient, prioritizing discounts where possible to counteract inflationary pressures." 

SpendingPulse reflects nominal spending, and is not adjusted for inflation, Mastercard says.

Ecommerce sales rose by +13.2% YoY. One possible reason is that harsh winter weather in many parts of the country kept consumers inside, where they ordered from the comfort of home. However, people were eager to be set free from the constraints of the last few years. 



Spending on restaurants grew by 14.2%, while spending on airlines rose by 15.6% and spending on lodging was up 42.7%. 

Mastercard suggests this reflects a rebound from suppressed growth in 2022, along with continued demand for travel and experiences prior to the spring break season. 

Some sectors showed more modest growth. For instance, apparel spending rose by 3.9%, and Department store purchasing by 5.6%.

The reason: consumers were emphasizing pricing and value. 

However, Valentine’s Day drove a temporary sales spike in the apparel, department store and jewelry verticals.

The lesson for email senders is clear as they approach the spring holidays and Mother’s Day: Discounts and value will drive clickthrough rates and sales. 

Overall, February sales were not quite as robust as they were in January. In that month, retail sales jumped by 8.8% YoY, including an ecommerce sales jump of 8.4% and in-store 8.9%. 

Sales continued their upward trend in February overall. "Retail spending continued to grow at a steady rate compared to 2022,” concludes Michelle Meyer, North America chief economist, Mastercard Economics Institute. 

Meyer adds: “The consumer remains supported by robust labor market conditions with some added cushion from savings.”  

Mastercard SpendingPulse measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment.


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