U.S. shoppers spent more online shopping during this year’s holiday shopping season, with e-commerce sales hitting record highs, according to a report released Wednesday by MasterCard Corp. The holiday shopping season is a critical time for retailers, accounting for 40% of annual sales. But this year’s U.S. holiday shopping season began on November 28th, nearly a week after november 22 last year, when retailers spent six days selling between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
E-commerce sales accounted for 14.6 percent of total retail sales this year, up 18.8 percent from the same period in 2018, according to MasterCard’s retail sales from November 1 to Christmas Eve. Total retail sales (excluding cars) rose 3.4% during the holiday shopping season.
Steve Sadove, senior adviser at MasterCard, said: “E-commerce sales are at an all-time high this year as more and more people shop online during the holidays. “
“Because the Thanksgiving holiday is later than usual, we’re seeing retailers deliver omnichannel sales at the beginning of the quarter, meeting consumer demand for the best deals for all channels and devices,” Sadove said. “
Some retailers have invested heavily in competing with retailer giant Amazon for market share to offer same-day delivery, lockers to make it easier for stores to pick up and improve their online business.
U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted: “Holiday retail sales in 2019 are up 3.4 percent from last year, the largest increase in U.S. history.” Congratulations to America! “
However, MasterCard spokesman William Tsang said this year’s holiday sales growth was not the biggest ever, with total sales up 5.1 per cent in 2018. The White House was not immediately available for comment on the apparent discrepancy.
Retail advisers and analysts said U.S. consumer spending continued to benefit from wage growth and a strong labor market, despite slowing global growth.
The holiday shopping season is challenging for other retailers after Amazon expanded its free return spending policy to include previously ineligible products that allow consumers to return small items purchased on the site by January.
The National Retail Federation forecasts that retail sales in the US holiday will grow by 3.8 per cent to 4.2 per cent in the two months. By contrast, the average annual growth rate over the past five years has been 3.7 per cent.
SpendingPulse reports that spending is tracked by combining sales activity and estimates of cash and other payment methods in The MasterCard payment network, but does not include car sales.