US holiday retail sales rise 8.5% as online shopping booms -Mastercard

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US retail sales rose 8.5% during this year’s holiday shopping season from November 1 to December 24, powered by soaring ecommerce sales, a report by Mastercard Inc said on Sunday.

US ecommerce sales jumped 11% in this year’s holiday shopping season, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse report, yet again underscoring the COVID-19 pandemic’s role in transforming customers’ shopping habits.

Shoppers also rushed to stores amid supply chain concerns as COVID-19 cases surged, sending sales at physical stores up 8.1% compared with 2020, the report added.

“Shoppers were eager to secure their gifts ahead of the retail rush, with conversations surrounding supply chain and labor supply issues sending consumers online and to stores in droves,” senior advisor for Mastercard Steve Sadove said in a statement.

Holiday e-commerce sales made up 20.9% of total retail sales this year, the data showed, noting that the sector continues to see growth as consumers enjoy the ease of browsing and buying in the comfort of their homes.

Segments such as jewelry and electronics continued to post growth, with jewelry sales surging 32% and electronics sales climbing 16.2% from 2020 levels, the report said.

The SpendingPulse report tracks spending by combining sales activity in Mastercard’s payments network with estimates of cash and other payment forms but excludes automobile sales.