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Early Shoppers Fuel 8.5% Jump in Holiday Retail Sales

Apparel and department stores were the benefactors.




A surge in early shopping got retailers off to a strong start this holiday season, spurring 8.5 percent year-over-year growth for the period between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24, according to the Mastercard SpendingPulse study.

Notably, online sales jumped 11 percent compared to the same period last year. The study – which excluded automotive sales – measured in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment.

“Shoppers were eager to secure their gifts ahead of the retail rush, with conversations surrounding supply chain and labor supply issues sending consumers online and to stores in droves,” said Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former CEO and Chairman of Saks Incorporated. “Consumers splurged throughout the season, with apparel and department stores experiencing strong growth as shoppers sought to put their best dressed foot forward.”

Key findings from the study include:

  • Consumers shopped early: Continuing a trend from 2020, U.S. consumers shopped earlier than in years past as retailers offered special promotions early and then again later in the season, motivating shoppers to secure “guaranteed by Christmas” shipping offers.
  • E-commerce sales snowballed: This holiday season, e-commerce made up 20.9 percent of total retail sales, up from 20.6 percent in 2020 and 14.6 percent in 2019. The channel continues to experience growth as consumers enjoy the convenience and comfort of buying from their homes.


Since launching in 2017, PETS+ has won 16 major international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact PETS+ editors at [email protected].



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