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U.S. retail sales grew 3.4% this holiday season

Study provides insights into overall retail spending trends across all payment types, including cash and check.

Retailers have much to cheer about this holiday season. According to Mastercard SpendingPulse, holiday retail sales increased 3.4% (ex auto) with online sales growing 18.8% compared to 2018.

Mastercard SpendingPulse provides insights into overall retail spending trends across all payment types, including cash and check.

“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 Inc. “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 Nov. 1 through Dec. 24. Key findings of the report indicate that this was a winning holiday season for retail, especially for e-commerce:

  • Total Apparel saw a gain, posting 1% growth year over year. The category also experienced stronger than expected ecommerce growth, up 17% compared to 2018.
  • The Jewelry sector experienced 1.8% growth in total retail sales, with online sales growing 8.8% – supporting eCommerce 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%.

Mastercard SpendingPulse reports on national retail sales across all payment types in select markets around the world. The findings are based on aggregate sales activity in the Mastercard payments network, coupled with survey-based estimates for certain other payment forms, such as cash and check.

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