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Data Reveals Robust Retail Sales During Holiday Season

-Editorial

According to preliminary insights from Mastercard SpendingPulseTM, U.S. retail sales excluding automotive increased +3.1% year-over-year this holiday season, running from November 1 through December 24. Mastercard SpendingPulse measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment and is not adjusted for inflation.

“This holiday season, the consumer showed up, spending deliberately,” said Michelle Meyer, Chief Economist, Mastercard Economics Institute. “The economic backdrop remains favorable with healthy job creation and easing inflation pressures, empowering consumers to seek the goods and experiences they value most.”

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.

Online retail sales increased +6.3% YOY while in-store sales were up a more modest +2.2% YOY. Spending online is increasing at a faster pace than in-store, therefore taking a growing slice of the retail pie, but shopping in-store still makes up a considerably larger portion of total retail spending.

Apparel was one of the top categories for shoppers this season as consumers shopped for new outfits and upcoming holiday festivities. The sector was up +2.4% YOY.

Culinary celebrations continued as family and friends gathered in restaurants to ring in the holidays. The Restaurant sector was up +7.8% YOY, while Grocery was up +2.1% for the season.

“Retailers started promotions early this season, giving consumers time to hunt for the best deals and promotions,” said Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former CEO and Chairman of Saks Incorporated. “Ultimately it was about getting the most bang for your buck as consumers spent on a variety of goods and services, resurfacing spending trends from before the pandemic.”

The Retail Monitor calculation of core retail sales – excluding restaurants in addition to autos and gas – showed increases of 0.73% month over month and 4.17% year over year in November. That compared with a month-over-month decrease of 0.03% and a year-over-year increase of 2.63% in October.

The results come as NRF is predicting that holiday retail sales from November 1 through December 31 – excluding autos, gas, and restaurants – will increase between 3% and 4% over 2022 to a record total of between $957.3 billion and $966.6 billion.

This is the second month that the Retail Monitor, which was launched in November, has provided the retail industry with data on monthly retail sales. Unlike survey-based numbers collected by the Census Bureau, the Retail Monitor uses actual credit and debit card purchase data compiled by Affinity and does not need to be revised monthly or annually.

November sales were up in seven out of nine retail categories every year, led by online sales, health and personal care stores, and sporting goods/hobby/music/book stores, and up in all but two categories every month.

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