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Mastercard Spending Pulse: Holiday sales grew 7.6%

holiday shopping bag with gifts
Holiday sales rose 7.6% over last year, according to preliminary results from Mastercard Spending Pulse.

Consumer spending held up during a holiday season that began back in October and saw plenty of deals and promotions, according to one early report.

U.S. retail sales (excluding automotive) increased 7.6% year-over-year this holiday season, according to preliminary insights from MasterCard Spending Pulse, which measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment and is not adjusted for inflation.  Mastercard’s analysis of holiday spending covers the November 1 through December 24 period.

This holiday retail season looked different than years past,” said Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former CEO and chairman of Saks Incorporated. “Retailers discounted heavily but consumers diversified their holiday spending to accommodate rising prices and an appetite for experiences and festive gatherings post-pandemic.”

Online sales grew 10.6% compared to the same period last year, according to Mastercard’s preliminary results. E-commerce made up 21.6% of total retail sales, up from 20.9% in 2021 and 20.6% in 2020.

“The channel continues to experience elevated growth as consumers prioritize convenience and availability of discounts,” Mastercard said.

In-store sales also experienced growth, rising 6.8% over last year.

Other insights from the Mastercard report are below:

• Black Friday kept its title as the top spending day of the 2022 holiday season, with sales rising 12% year-over-year (excluding automotive). This was followed closely by Saturdays in December.

Building on the ongoing demand for experiences, in-person dining continued to show strong momentum with restaurants up 15.1% year-over-year.”

• Apparel sales rose 4.5% over last year.

• Jewelry sales fell 5.5% over last year, and electronic sales were down 5.4%

“Inflation altered the way U.S. consumers approached their holiday shopping – from hunting for the best deals to making trade-offs that stretched gift-giving budgets,” said Michelle Meyer, North America chief economist, Mastercard Economics Institute. “Consumers and retailers navigated the season well, displaying resilience amid increasing economic pressures.”

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.

Mastercard SpendingPulse defines “U.S. retail sales” as sales at retailers and food services merchants of all sizes. Sales activity within the services sector (for example, travel services such as airlines and lodging) are not included in the total retail sales figure.

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