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Mastercard SpendingPulse expects 10% sales growth Thanksgiving Week

Retail U.S. sales during Thanksgiving Week are expected to grow 10.0% year-over-year, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse.

Shoppers are expected to be out in full force — in stores and online — during Thanksgiving week as they search for deals and stock up on product amid inventory concerns.

Retail U.S. sales during Thanksgiving Week are expected to grow 10.0% year-over-year and 12.2% over the same period in 2019, according to Mastercard Spending Pulse, which measures overall retail sales across all payment types including cash and check.  The reports exclude auto and gas.

E-commerce is also expected to experience sustained growth, increasing 7.1% year-over-year and 50.2% over Thanksgiving week 2019.

With supply chain challenges straining product availability, elevated inflation and consumers creating unprecedented demand for goods, this holiday season is shaping up to be a seller’s market for retailers, according to Mastercard. Key Thanksgiving Week trends to watch for are below.

  • Deal hunters may be disappointed by limited discounts: Anticipated spending in key gift-giving categories such as apparel (up 56.0%), electronics (up 29.6%), and jewelry (up 39.7%) may lead retailers to discount strategically to manage product inventory and shipping constraints.
  • Black Friday rebounds in 2021: Total retail sales growth excluding auto and gas is expected to surpass 20% on Black Friday. Last year, Black Friday sales were suppressed due to limited in-store foot traffic. With the return of doorbusters driving consumers back in stores and holiday window shopping in full display, the day is expected to rebound with optimism.
  • Thanksgiving store closures: Many big-box retailers, department stores and outlet malls will remain closed on Thanksgiving Day, providing consumers and employees with time to reconnect with family and friends – or shop the seasonal deals online. E-commerce sales Thanksgiving Week are anticipated to grow 50.2% compared to the same time in 2019.

In September, Mastercard SpendingPulse said that it expected U.S. retail sales to grow 7.4% this holiday season (Nov. 1- Dec. 24). In-store sales are expected to see a rebound—rising 6.6% compared to 2020.

“Holiday lights are shining bright for retailers this year,” said Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former CEO and Chairman of Saks Incorporated. “The consumer is strong and spending. With discounts in short supply, product innovation, availability and sustainability will be deciding factors for consumers eager to cross off their holiday shopping lists.”

As anticipated, the holiday shopping season kicked off in October, with early promotions driving consumers online and in stores. According to Mastercard SpendingPulse, October U.S. retail sales excluding auto and gas increased 6.1% year-over-year and 12.9% compared to October 2019. E-commerce sales in October rose 13.2% year-over-year and 76.7% over 2019 when compared to the same periods.

Apparel, jewelry, luxury and restaurants all saw double-digit growth compared to both 2020 and 2019. In addition, department stores rose 17.7% compared to last year and 6.6% vs. 2019.

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