Spurred by e-commerce, winter holiday sales of electronics increased an estimated 6% from Oct. 11 to Dec. 24 compared with the previous-year period, according to new data from Mastercard SpendingPlus. The tracking firm said retail sales overall increased 3%, driven by online sales. The company measures overall retail spending trends, excluding automotive and gasoline, across all payment types, including cash and check.
“American consumers turned the holiday season on its head, redefining ‘home for the holidays’ in a uniquely 2020 way,” Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard, said in a statement.
Key findings underscore the shift to online spending among consumers, with e-commerce accounting for 19.7% of overall retail sales — up from approximately 13.4% in 2019. In addition, consumers continue to spend more time — and money — on their homes.
Home furniture and furnishings experienced the strongest growth of any sector compared with 2019, up 16.2%, and it grew 31% online specifically. In addition, home improvement was up 14.1%, with e-commerce sales up 79.7%. Apparel experienced a decline of 19.1% year over year.
Department stores saw overall sales decline of 10.2% and online sales growth of 3.3%, reinforcing the importance of omnichannel offerings. Buy online, pick up in store as well as technologies like contactless were key for retailers this season.
This season, U.S. consumers shopped far earlier than in years past, as retailers offered special promotions early and often. In addition, though Black Friday was down (-16.1%), Thanksgiving weekend through Cyber Monday remained a key time for shoppers, with Black Friday being the top spending day of the 2020 holiday season.