Mastercard Report Says Retailers Have Much to Cheer About

The first of what will likely be a series of updates is out already this morning regarding the success of the Christmas holiday season for retailers across the nation. It comes from Mastercard in the form of their Mastercard Spending Pulse.

Indications are that retailers have much to cheer about this holiday season. According to Mastercard SpendingPulse, holiday retail sales increased 3.4 percent (excluding the sale of automobiles) with online sales growing 18.8-percent compared to 2018. The new report provides insights into overall retail spending trends across all payment types, including cash and checks.

Steve Sadove is Senior Advisor for Mastercard and former CEO and Chairman of Saks Incorporated. Sadove says, “E-commerce sales hit a record high this year with more people doing their holiday shopping online,” and adds, “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 1st through December 24th. Key findings of the report indicate that this was a winning holiday season for retail, especially for e-commerce:

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  • 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. That 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.

The new Mastercard SpendingPulse shows overall holiday retail sales growth, with E-commerce sales growing 18.8-percent this holiday season compared to 2018 when it saw an 18.4-percent growth, as E-commerce takes a bigger piece of the holiday pie. In total, holiday E-commerce sales made up 14.6-percent of all retail.

Here are the year-over-year e-commerce growth numbers by category:

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

Looking at the timing of the 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.