Mastercard: Winter Holiday Retail Sales Up 8.5%

It was a resurgent season for retailers as consumers in the period from Nov. 1 through Dec. 24 increased their holiday spending 8.5% compared with the previous-year period, according to new preliminary data from Mastercard. Online sales grew 11%. Retail store traffic increased 8.1%.

“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,” Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard, said in a statement.

Continuing a key trend from 2020, consumers shopped earlier than in years past, as retailers offered special promotions early and then again later in the season as shoppers raced to secure “guaranteed by Christmas” shipping offers. Looking at Mastercard’s expanded holiday season, total retail sales were up 8.6% year-over-year for the 75 days between Oct. 11 and Dec. 24.

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The Thanksgiving weekend remained key, with Black Friday (Nov. 26) again the top spending day of the 2021 holiday season. For the Thanksgiving weekend, U.S. retail sales increased 14.1%. In-store sales also rebounded, increasing 16.5%, while e-commerce sales increased 4.9%.

E-commerce made up 20.9% of total retail sales, up from 20.6% in 2020 and 14.6% in 2019. The channel continues to experience elevated growth as consumers enjoy the ease of holiday browsing and buying in the comfort of their own homes.


U.S. Holiday Retail Sales

  Traditional Holiday Period

Nov. 1 – Dec. 24

  2021 vs. 2020 2021 vs. 2019
Total retail (ex. auto) +8.5% +10.7%
In-store +8.1% +2.4%
E-commerce sales +11.0% +61.4%
  2021 vs. 2020 2021 vs. 2019
Apparel +47.3% +29.0%
Department Stores +21.2% +11.0%
Electronics +16.2% +19.8%
Jewelry +32.0% +26.2%
Source: Mastercard measures overall retail sales across all payment types, including cash and check.

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