Mastercard Reports 3.1 Percent Growth in Holiday Retail Sales, a Decrease from Previous Year

U.S. Retail Sales up 3.1% During Holiday Shopping Season

According to a report by Mastercard, retail sales in the United States rose by 3.1 percent between November 1 and December 24 as shoppers looked for last-minute Christmas deals. This increase is lower than the 3.7 percent growth forecasted by Mastercard in September and last year’s 7.6 percent rise. The lower growth of retail sales is attributed to higher interest rates and inflation affecting consumer spending.

Major retailers such as Amazon.com and Walmart offered big promotions and ramped up their efforts to entice bargain-hunting shoppers. However, analysts noted that the discounts were not as deep as the previous year, as retailers were dealing with excessive stock after the pandemic. As a result, some of these discounts were rolled back in December as shoppers were expected to buy last-minute gifts and household goods on “Super Saturday,” the Saturday before Christmas.

Despite the lower-than-expected growth in retail sales, online shopping saw a significant increase. The Mastercard report indicated that online sales rose by 8.5 percent during the holiday shopping season. This surge in online shopping reflects the ongoing shift towards e-commerce, with more consumers opting to shop online rather than visiting traditional brick-and-mortar stores.

The report also revealed that certain categories of retail sales experienced strong growth. Home improvement and furniture sales increased by 16.5 percent, while department store sales rose by 21.7 percent. This suggests that consumers were prioritizing purchases related to home improvement and luxury goods during the holiday season.

While the overall growth in retail sales fell short of expectations, economists remain optimistic about consumer spending in the coming year. With the holiday season now over, retailers are hoping for a post-holiday sales boost as consumers redeem gift cards and seek out clearance deals on seasonal merchandise.

In conclusion, retail sales in the United States saw a modest increase of 3.1 percent during the holiday shopping season. While the growth was lower than anticipated, online shopping experienced a significant surge, and certain categories of retail sales performed well. As the economy continues to recover from the impact of the pandemic, retailers are hopeful for a post-holiday sales boost in the coming weeks.

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