Mastercard: Strong holiday so far as e-commerce surges

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Mastercard: Strong holiday so far as e-commerce surges

By Marianne Wilson - 12/15/2017
Another report indicates that retailers are in for one of their best holidays in years.

The year 2017 is projected to show the strongest holiday season growth rates since 2010, with the overall potential to surpass 5% year-over-year growth, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse, which reports on national U.S. retail sales across all payments types.

The most recent SpendingPulse holiday shopping update, which looks at retail spending Nov. 1 through Dec. 9, reveals strong growth of 3.6% compared to last year. The report comes on the heels of a revised holiday forecast by Customer Growth Partners, which raised its forecast from its already above-consensus forecast of 4.3% growth to 5.6% growth.

Online sales are up 16.3% since November, according to SpendingPulse. While Black Friday still accounts for significant dollar volumes, Cyber Week (Nov. 27-Dec. 3) saw higher growth this year – sales were up 5% compared to last year.

In other findings:

• Retailers’ heavy early-season promotions paid off, with the first three weeks of November seeing significant jumps. Those early bird shoppers were particularly spending on electronics, home improvement and jewelry, though all categories saw growth, including apparel.

• Home is clearly where the heart is this holiday season, with home-related purchases way up. Not only did home improvement grow 11.6%, but home furniture and furnishings was up 3.5%.

“When we look at holiday spend, it’s easy to see that 2017 will likely be a good year for retailers," said Sarah Quinlan, senior VP of market insights, Mastercard. "Unemployment is at 4.1%, wages are rising, consumers are confident. It is all playing out in the shopping picture this holiday season as retailers and gift recipients would want it to.”

Some of these same trends are playing out across the Atlantic as well. Mastercard SpendingPulse found that U.K. retail sales saw 3.1% growth in November, with 12.2% e-commerce increases. Categories like furniture and electronics were among the big winners.

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