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Mastercard SpendingPulse reveals surge in U.S. holiday retail sales

By Pavithra R

December 28, 2020

  • Mastercard
  • USA
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Mastercard SpendingPulse reveals surge in U.S. holiday retail sales

Mastercard SpendingPulse report on holiday retail sales reveals that U.S. retail spending on automotive and gasoline increased 3.0% from October 11 through December 24. 

Mastercard SpendingPulse reports on national retail sales across all payment types in select global markets. Its 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.

Key findings from Mastercard SpendingPulse underscores the shift to online spending, with e-commerce accounting for 19.7% of overall retail sales up from approx. 13.4% in 2019. The preliminary insights show that online sales grew by 49.0% compared to 2019. Some of the key findings include:

  • The strongest growth was experienced by home furniture and furnishings sector compared to 2019, up 16.2%, and it grew 31.0% online specifically. Additionally, home improvement was up 14.1%, with e-commerce sales up 79.7%.
  • Apparel experienced a decline of 19.1% year over year, while electronics and appliances were up 6.0% overall.
  • Department stores saw an overall sales decline of 10.2% and online sales growth of 3.3%, reinforcing the importance of omnichannel offerings. Buy online, pick up in-store as well as technologies like contactless were key for retailers this season.

“American consumers turned the holiday season on its head, redefining ‘home for the holidays’ in a uniquely 2020 way. They shopped from home for the home, leading to record e-commerce growth. And, consumers shopped earlier than ever before. Across our expanded 75-day holiday shopping season, sales were up 3.0%, a testament to the holiday season and strength of retailers and consumers alike,” said Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former CEO and Chairman of Saks Incorporated.

Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. The firm is committed to building a more inclusive digital economy that works for everyone. It is also making Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) central to its business model. As part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the firm has pledged $250 mn in financial, technology, product, and insights support over the next five years to SMBs across the globe, supporting the financial security and vitality of businesses and their workers.

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