Retailers Had a Merry Christmas, Thanks to Online Sales
According to a MasterCard Spending Pulse study, U.S. retail sales rose 7.9% during the recent holiday season. eCommerce and furniture both saw double-digit sales growth.
eCommerce was the biggest contributor, increasing by 20% from last year. 70% of consumers now do research online before buying. Incentives, such as free and fast shipping, seem to be transitioning customers from researchers to purchasers.
Along with eCommerce, decreased fuel costs may also have spurred increased spending. The Spending Pulse study, which tracked sales activity on the MasterCard payments network and surveyed consumers, shows Americans are spending the money they’re saving at the pump on other goods and services.
Apparel sales increased from Black Friday to Christmas Eve, and women’s apparel sales surpassed those for men. The lack of cold weather was blamed for the rather lackluster sales, as people put off purchasing winter apparel.
“After a slow start, I’m very happy to see that the holiday season was hot for retailers,” said Sarah Quinlan, SVP, Market Insights for MasterCard Advisors. “We saw some very promising trends. The double-digit growth in furniture sales, for instance, shows that consumers are willing and able to splurge on big ticket items. eCommerce’s rise is a solid indication of an empowered and savvy shopper. We’ll be watching to see if this behavior continues into 2016.”