Jan 2, 2024
Retail sales grow this holiday season

U.S. retail sales — excluding automotive — increased 3.1% year over year this holiday season, according to preliminary insights from Mastercard SpendingPulse. This measures in-store and online retail sales, running from Nov. 1 through Dec. 24, across all forms of payment and is not adjusted for inflation.

“This holiday season, the consumer showed up, spending in a deliberate manner” said Michelle Meyer, chief economist, Mastercard Economics Institute. “The economic backdrop remains favorable with healthy job creation and easing inflation pressures, empowering consumers to seek the goods and experiences they value most.”

Key retail trends this holiday season included: 

  • Shopping extravaganzas in-store and online: Online retail sales increased 6.3% year over year while in-store sales were up a more modest 2.2% year over year. Spending online is increasing at a faster pace than in-store, therefore taking a growing slice of the retail pie, but shopping in-store still makes up a considerably larger portion of total retail spending.
  • Winter wardrobe wonderland: Apparel was one of the top categories for shoppers this season as consumers shopped for new outfits and upcoming holiday festivities. The sector was up 2.4% year over year.
  • Season’s eatings: Culinary celebrations continued as family and friends gathered in restaurants to ring in the holidays. The Restaurant sector was up 7.8% year over year, while Grocery was up 2.1% for the season.

“Retailers started promotions early this season, giving consumers time to hunt for the best deals and promotions,” said Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former CEO and chairman of Saks Incorporated. “Ultimately it was about getting the most bang for your buck as consumers spent on a variety of goods and services, resurfacing spending trends from before the pandemic.”




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