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Holiday retail sales up 3% so far

family shopping for christmas gifts

Total retail sales have risen 3% so far this holiday season (Nov. 1-Dec. 6).

That’s according to Mastercard SpendingPulse, which tracks overall retail spending trends across all payment types, including cash and check. The increase is in line with Mastercard’s holiday forecast, which calls for an overall holiday increase of 3.1%. (Mastercard’s holiday forecast is not as robust as most others, including the National Retail Federation, which forecast holiday sales to increase between 3.8% and 4.2%.)

Retailers’ heavy digital promotional campaigns appear to have paid off, with good e-commerce sales growth levels leading into the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and continuing straight through Cyber Week (Dec. 2-6), the report found. (All Mastercard figures are excluding auto sales.)

“This year retail spend has been on the rise, influenced by cyber deals which continue to impact holiday spend beyond traditional days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” said Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former CEO and chairman of Saks Inc. “We’ve seen e-commerce grow 14.4% so far this holiday season, with jewelry and apparel leading the way respectively during Cyber Week.”

Cold weather across the U.S. was one factor that helped online sales post strong results on Black Friday, especially during the traditional morning doorbuster sales, according to the report. Department Stores outperformed on Black Friday compared to retail overall.

Other SpendingPulse insights show that:
• The Thanksgiving holiday weekend (Thursday–Sunday) posted a 4.8% year-over-year increase across retail sales. 

• Black Friday saw total retail up 4.9% compared to last year.

• Cyber Monday saw total retail gains of 7.2% compared to 2018, with e-commerce growing at 27.6%. E-commerce on Cyber Monday accounted for 24.4% of all retail sales and significantly more for certain sectors. For instance, for apparel, e-commerce accounted for 72.2% of all apparel sales.

• Initial trends from Cyber Week shows a continuation of solid sales. jewelry (+25.2%) and apparel (+23.3%), in particular, led the way in terms of e-commerce sales growth.

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