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E-commerce Sales Jump Nearly 50% This Holiday Season


Image via Ben White on Unsplash

With the holiday shopping season now officially in the books, Mastercard on Saturday gave a look into what consumers shopped for this year.


Using aggregate sales activity in the Mastercard payments network and survey-based estimates for other payment forms such as cash and check, MasterCard SpendingPulse found that U.S. retail sales excluding automotive and gasoline jumped 3% during this year's holiday shopping season, which ran from October 11 through December 24.


With many people continuing to stay at home as a result of Covid-19, it's not surprising that online sales jumped by 49% compared to last year. E-commerce accounted for 19.7% of overall retail sales during this year's holiday shopping season compared to 13.4% in 2019.


Given people are spending so much time at home, home furniture and furnishings was the biggest winner, showing the largest growth of any sector as sales jumped by more than 16% from last year. Home improvement also saw a boost as sales increased by more than 14% from last year as e-commerce sales jumped by nearly 80%.


"American consumers turned the holiday season on its head, redefining 'home for the holidays' in a uniquely 2020 way. They shopped from home for the home, leading to record e-commerce growth," Mastercard senior advisor Steve Sadove said. "And, consumers shopped earlier than ever before. Across our expanded 75-day holiday shopping season, sales were up 3.0%, a testament to the holiday season and strength of retailers and consumers alike."


Department stores continue to lose their luster as sales fell by more than 10% from last year. Department stores saw their e-commerce sales grow by just over 3% compared to 2019.


Despite seeing overall sales decline by more than 16% from last year, Black Friday remained the top shopping day of the season by spend while the day after came in the second spot. December 12 and 11 rounded out the next two spots as consumers rushed to take advantage of "guaranteed by Christmas" offers.


Consumers appeared to have their shopping done early this year, as the Monday before Christmas didn't even make the top 10 this year after being the third-biggest shopping day in 2019.


With Mastercard providing a glimpse into this year's holiday shopping season, investors will now look forward to earnings season to see which companies were the big winners this year.

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