According to a report from Mastercard SpendingPulse, holiday sales increased 8.5% this year as consumers purchased more clothes, jewelry, and electronics. As compared to 2020, fashion sales rose 47%, jewelry sales 32%, and electronics sales 16% over 2020, as well as at least 20% over pre-pandemic levels in 2019. Department stores saw sales increase by 21% over last year and 10% over two years ago.
The holiday season measured from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24 saw a significant increase in sales in stores and online. Mastercard noted that during the holiday season, Black Friday was the top day for spending, and weekend spending was up 14 percent over last year. Consumers began searching for gifts earlier than usual. As supply chains roiled and stores announced more promotions, which attracted customers, to kickstart the holiday shopping season. In a statement, Mastercard senior advisor Steve Sadove said that consumers were eager to purchase gifts ahead of the holiday rush due to supply chain issues and labor shortages.
Despite early fears of a holiday rush, many shoppers ordered and received their gifts on time. Retailers, too, tried to head off any other bottlenecks by placing merchandise orders on time.
Delivery companies hired more workers to handle the deluge of packages that smashed the Postal Service last year. According to ShipMatrix, nearly all packages delivered by UPS, FedEx and the Postal Service arrived on time or with minimal delays.
Additionally, according to the report, consumers rushed to stores when supply chain worries caused COVID-19 cases to spike, sending sales at physical stores up 8.1% over 2020.
This year, e-commerce sales accounted for 20.9% of total retail sales, the data showed, with consumers enjoying the ease of shopping online and buying their gifts from home. Retail sales climbed 11% online in the last year, the report shows.