Christmas Shopping Started Earliest Yet

MasterCard Spending Pulse

Mastercard SpendingPulse reports U.S. Retail Sales Grew 3.0% This Holiday Season excluding autos and gas.

Key Shopping Details

  • This season, U.S. consumers shopped far earlier than in years past, as retailers offered special promotions early and often. 
  • Holiday retail sales excluding automotive and gasoline increased 3.0% this expanded holiday season, running from October 11 through December 24
  • Black Friday was down (-16.1% but remained the top spending day of the 2020 holiday season.. 
  • Online sales grew 49.0% compared to 2019, the preliminary insights show. 
  • Home furniture and furnishings experienced the strongest growth of any sector compared to 2019, up 16.2%, and it grew 31.0% online specifically. In addition, home improvement was up 14.1%, with e-commerce sales up 79.7%.
  • Apparel experienced a decline of 19.1% year over year
  • Electronics and appliances were up 6.0% overall.
  • Department stores saw overall sales decline of 10.2%.
  • Buy online, pick up in store as well as technologies like contactless were key for retailers this season.

SpendingPulse measures overall retail spending trends across all payment types, including cash and check.

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Apples vs Oranges

The report added an extra 21 days to the shopping season this year. 

At a minimum, by extending the season three weeks earlier into October, SpendingPulse likely introduced Covid-related issues including school artifacts.

I would rather the report compared November and December rather than changing the shopping season.

Mish