Record Online Sales Drive 2019 Winter Holiday Retail Results Up 3.4%

With a six-days-shorter winter holiday period this year compared to 2018, retailers pushed earlier discount pricing in stores and online, which resulted in record e-commerce sales and a 3.4% increase in overall consumer spending (excluding autos), according to new data from Mastercard.

Online transactions increased nearly 19% from a year ago and accounted for nearly 15% of overall sales for the period from Nov. 1 through Dec. 24.

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“E-commerce sales hit a record high this year with more people doing their holiday shopping online,” Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former CEO of Saks, said in a statement. “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.”

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%.

E-commerce continues to drive retail, accounting for 15.4% of Black Friday (Nov. 28) and 24.5% of Cyber Monday (Dec. 1) consumer spending, respectively.

Top online retailers included Walmart, Amazon and Target — all drivers of packaged-media (including DVD/Blu-ray Disc) sales.

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Amazon Touts Record Holiday Retail Season

Amazon Dec. 26 announced a record-breaking holiday season, with more items ordered worldwide than ever before. The e-commerce behemoth said consumers shopped at record levels from a wide selection of products across every department. Best-selling products this season included, all-new Echo Dot home speakers and Bose wireless headphones, among others.

“This season was our best yet. We are thrilled that in the U.S. alone, more than one billion items shipped for free this holiday with Prime,” Jeff Wilke, CEO worldwide consumer, said in a statement.

Among retail highlights:

  • Customers purchased millions more Amazon Devices this holiday season compared to last year – the best-selling Amazon Devices this holiday included all-new Echo Dot, Fire TV Stick 4K with all-new Alexa Voice Remote, and Echo.
  • It was a record holiday season for Amazon’s Kids Edition devices; customers purchased more Echo Dot Kids Edition and Fire Kids Edition tablets than ever before.
  • Customers purchased millions of Amazon Fire TV, Fire Tablet, and Kindle products this holiday season.
  • Ring and Blink sold more devices this holiday season than ever before, as more and more customers are keeping their homes safe.
  • Customers made their homes even smarter this year with a record number of smart home devices sold on com; best-selling smart home devices included Amazon Smart Plug, Ring Video Doorbell 2, TP-Link Kasa Smart Plug Mini Outlet, and the iRobot Roomba 690.
  • Customers used Alexa to listen to hundreds of millions more hours of music this holiday season compared to last holiday season, and on even more services – including Amazon Music, Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music, among others.
  • Customers asked Alexa to turn on their holiday lights tens of millions of times this holiday season, with the number one request being “Alexa, turn on the Christmas tree.”
  • Alexa delivered 8x as many reminders this holiday season compared to last.
  • Alexa set more than one hundred million timers this holiday season.
  • Customers requested nearly 3x as many recipes this holiday season compared to last and asked Alexa for cooking-related advice twice as much.
  • Alexa helped mix hundreds of thousands of cocktails this holiday season – with eggnog and Moscow Mule being the most requested drinks.
  • From carolers to delivery drivers and holiday guests, customers received millions of doorbell and motion announcements via Alexa this holiday season.
  • Customers were in to the festive spirit with Alexa Skill Blueprints – popular Blueprints this holiday season were The Holiday Story, Santa’s Letter, and the Hallmark Holiday Greeting.
  • The number one holiday song that customers requested this holiday season was “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey.
  • This holiday season, customers listened to more than one million holiday stories from Amazon Storytime on Alexa – the most popular holiday story was Rapping Paper.
  • Customers around the world asked Alexa how many days or sleeps until Christmas this holiday season – customers in the United Kingdom were the most excited, asking twice as much as customers in any other country.
  • Customers used Alexa nearly twice as much on Fire TV devices this holiday season compared to the same time period last year.
  • The best-selling electronics this holiday season included Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II) Wireless Headphones, the Samsung Flat 65″ 4K UHD 8 Series Smart LED TV, Apple iPad (Wi-Fi, 32GB) in Space Gray, Wemo Mini Smart Plug, Blue Yeti USB Microphone in Blackout, Wyze Cam 1080p HD Indoor Wireless Smart Home Camera, and HP Sprocket Photo Paper.
  • The best-selling items at Amazon Books this holiday season included Becomingby Michelle Obama, Diary of a Wimpy Kid #13: Meltdown by Jeff Kinney, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari, Kindle Paperwhite, all-new Echo Dot, and the L.O.L. Surprise! Bling Series toys.