Online Sales Hit Record High This Holiday Season

Online Sales Hit Record High This Holiday Season

According to Mastercard SpendingPulse holiday retail sales increased 3.4 percent. Online sales grew 18.8 percent compared with growth of 1.2 percent for in-store sales.

Digital’s 14.6 percent share of total sales was a new high, according to Mastercard.

The overall results topped projections from Mastercard SpendingPulse calling for overall growth of U.S. retail sales (excluding automotive) to grow 3.1 percent between November 1 and December 24 with online sales ahead 14.6 percent.

Mastercard SpendingPulse tracks both online and in-store spending with all forms of payment. The tally excludes automobiles.

Analysts had expected healthy sales gains this holiday season, helped by a strongU.S. economy and low unemployment.

Thanksgiving was six days later this year, which pushed back holiday shopping. The National Retail Federation polled 7,779 consumers from Nov. 27 to Dec. 5 and found that 52 percent of those who had started buying gifts had completed their shopping, compared with 58 percent last year.

Adobe Analytics previously reported that shoppers spent $125.6 billion online from November 1 through December 19, a 13.6 percent increase from last year. Buying on smartphones accounted for 35 percent of that revenue.

“E-commerce sales hit a record high this year with more people doing their holiday shopping online,” said Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former CEO and Chairman of Saks Inc, in a statement. “Due to a later than usual Thanksgiving holiday, we saw retailers offering omnichannel sales earlier in the season, meeting consumers’ demand for the best deals across all channels and devices.”

The Mastercard SpendingPulse report details holiday shopping from November 1 through December 24. Key findings of the report indicate that this was a winning holiday season for retail, especially for e-commerce:

  • Total Apparel saw a gain, posting 1 percent growth year over year. The category also experienced stronger than expected e-commerce growth, up 17 percent compared to 2018.
  • The Jewelry sector experienced 1.8 percent growth in total retail sales, with online sales growing 8.8 percent – supporting eCommerce strength. This trend started before the holiday season and helped the sector power through to its finish.
  • Department stores saw overall sales decline 1.8 percent and online sales growth of 6.9 percent, emphasizing the importance of omnichannel offerings.
  • Electronics and appliances were up 4.6 percent, while the home furniture and furnishings category grew 1.3 percent.

 Mastercard SpendingPulse™: Holiday E-commerce (November 1 – December 24)

Overall holiday retail sales growth

  • E-commerce sales grew 18.8 percent this holiday season compared to 2018.  This is up from the 18.4 percent growth rate last year.

E-commerce takes a bigger piece of the holiday pie

  • Holiday e-commerce sales made up 14.6 percent of total retail.

Year-over-year e-commerce growth by category

  • Specialty Apparel: 17 percent
  • Jewelry: 8 percent
  • Electronics: 7 percent
  • Department stores: 9 percent

E-commerce share of overall retail spend

  • Black Friday: 15.4 percent
  • Cyber Monday: 24.5 percent

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.