Consumer spending jumped over 7% this holiday season

Steven Loeb · December 27, 2022 · Short URL:

Mastercard data shows online shopping grew over 10% from the same time in 2021 for 21.6% of sales

There was some fear that holiday shopping might be down this year due to inflation and higher prices; in fact, most people said they would be cutting back, spending less on some of their typical holiday expenses including parties, presents, and cards as costs rose. 

That turned out not to be the case, according to data from Mastercard SpendingPulse: in fact, U.S. retail sales increased 7.6% year-over-year this holiday season, and that doesn't even include automative sales, which were not included in the data set.

Mastercard SpendingPulse, which measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment, found that, from November 1 through December 24, online sales grew over 10% from the same period in 2021. In all, e-commerce shopping made up 21.6% of total retail sales, an increase from the 20.9% e-commerce they made up in 2021; that's a much higher percentage increase this year than the 0.3% increase from 20.6% in 2020.

In-store shopping, meanwhile, also rose from 2021, growing 6.8% year-to-year. While that tracks with other data that has come out about current shopping habits showing people stopping more in-store than they did in 2021, it seems as though the trend of people moving toward online shopping was in no way abated by the pandemic.

One way the pandemic, or at least the easing of pandemic restrictions and rules, did affect shopping this year was in what they were buying: the biggest increase year-to-year came in restaurants, which saw spending jump over 15% from where it was in 2021, while apparel saw 4.4% growth, and department store sales rose 1% year-to-year. 

Not doing as well in 2022, though, were more luxurious items, including jewelry and electronics, which saw sales fall 5.3% and 5.4% year-to-year. Even as spending rose overall, shoppers still don't seem to be willing to shell out for more expensive gifts.

Meanwhile, Black Friday still remains the largest shopping day, with sales up 12% from 2021, though the report also says that it was "followed closely" by Saturdays in December.

“Inflation altered the way U.S. consumers approached their holiday shopping – from hunting for the best deals to making trade-offs that stretched gift-giving budgets,” Michelle Meyer, North America Chief Economist, Mastercard Economics Institute.

“Consumers and retailers navigated the season well, displaying resilience amid increasing economic pressures.”

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