Holiday Retail Sales Jump 8.5% Over 2020

Number of the Day: The most relevant or interesting figure in personal finance

17

That’s how many years it’s been since holiday retail sales grew as much as they did this year, according to a study released Sunday, showing how resilient U.S. consumers have been despite COVID-19 fears.

Holiday retail sales (excluding the automotive category) from Nov. 1 through Dec. 24 increased 8.5% over the comparable period last year, according to preliminary data from Mastercard SpendingPulse, which tracks all kinds of payments including cash and debit cards. This is the first time in the 17 years Mastercard SpendingPulse has been collecting the data that holiday sales have risen more than 8%, Mastercard said. 

“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,” said Steve Sadove, a senior advisor for Mastercard and a former CEO and chairman of Saks Inc., in a statement. “Consumers splurged throughout the season, with apparel and department stores experiencing strong growth as shoppers sought to put their best dressed foot forward.”

E-commerce led the growth with an 11% jump from last year, but brick-and-mortar stores also performed well—up 8.1%—despite the fast-spreading omicron variant grabbing headlines in the weeks before Christmas. Clothing rose 47.3%, jewelry was up 32%, and electronics increased 16.2%. 

Earlier this month, the National Retail Federation projected holiday sales from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31 could grow as much as 11.5% over 2020, to a record level.

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The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Mastercard SpendingPulse. “US Retail Sales Grew 8.5% This Holiday Season.”

  2. NRF. “November Retail Sales Put Holiday Season on Track To Set New Records.”

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