Holiday Retail Sales See Biggest Increase Since 2011

MajorsDec 29, 2017

Holiday Retail Sales See Biggest Increase Since 2011

Strong consumer confidence and more online and late-season shopping helped them grow by 5 percent this year, according to the MasterCard SpendingPulse report.

Purchase, N.Y.--Holiday retail sales saw their largest increase since 2011 this year, according to MasterCard, due to strong consumer confidence and more online and late-season shopping.  

The company’s SpendingPulse report showed that holiday sales were up almost 5 percent this year, setting a new record for dollars spent. (MasterCard did not release the final dollar amount.)

The report details holiday shopping from November 1 through December 24 and covers retail sales across all payment types, including cash and check.

It also showed that online shopping saw massive growth of 18 percent when compared with 2016, boosted by plenty of late-season shopping.

Other key findings of the Mastercard SpendingPulse report include the following.

--Many shoppers were focused on home-related purchases. Electronics and appliances increased by nearly 8 percent, the category’s strongest growth in the past decade. Home furniture and furnishings, meanwhile, grew 5 percent, as did home improvement.

--Specialty apparel and department stores, both of which usually see the bulk of sales happening in store, saw moderate gains, which is “particularly impressive given recent store closings,” MasterCard said.

--Heavy promotions early in the season by retailers paid off, with the first three weeks of November seeing significant growth.

--Shoppers also were spending late into the holiday season, with Dec. 23 falling only after Black Friday in terms of single-day spending. This was a boon to certain categories, including jewelry. Jewelry grew 5.9 percent, largely driven by last-minute sales.

“Evolving consumer preferences continue to play out in the aisles and online sites of retailers across the U.S.,” said Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president of Market Insights, Mastercard. “Overall, this year was a big win for retail. The strong U.S. economy was a contributing factor, but we also have to recognize that retailers who tried new strategies to engage holiday shoppers were the beneficiaries of this sales increase.”

Though the National Retail Federation has not yet released its final holiday sales numbers--it will do so in mid-January--CEO Matthew Shay issued the following statement to National Jeweler:

“This holiday season’s big winners--in addition to consumers--were retailers of all shapes and sizes across all segments. From online and luxury retailers to department and discount stores, from Main Street to mega stores and everything in between, traffic and sales were generally up. In October, NRF forecasted holiday retail sales to increase between 3.6 and 4 percent for a total of $678.75

billion to $682 billion. When we issue our final holiday retail sales numbers in early January, we anticipate meeting or exceeding the higher end of that forecast.”

ShopperTrak, which monitors foot traffic in retail stores, has also released some figures for the holiday season.

According to the firm, in-store retail traffic on Super Saturday (Dec. 23) increased 20 percent compared with last year’s Super Saturday, supporting its belief that the importance of the day increases based on its proximity to Christmas Day.

As there was a full weekend before Christmas Day this year, with both Dec. 23 and Dec. 24 providing shopping opportunities, retail traffic increased more than 145 percent during the overall weekend when compared with last year.

Additionally, Saturday, Dec. 16 and Sunday, Dec. 17 saw a 3 percent increase in traffic when compared to last year’s Super Saturday Weekend.

However, the work week (Dec. 18 through Dec. 22) significantly underperformed when compared with the work week leading into Christmas Day last year, showing a 13 percent decrease in shopper traffic.

Looking ahead, one of the 10 busiest shopping days still remains: Saturday, Dec. 30.

To capitalize on shopper demand, retailers will need to make sure their store is stocked with all the right product assortments and price points, ShopperTrak said.
Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

The Latest

CollectionsJan 21, 2022
Piece of the Week: Emily P. Wheeler’s Heart Necklace

It’s a whimsical update to a classic riviere.

SourcingJan 21, 2022
Stephen Lussier to Retire After 37 Years With De Beers

Tiffany executive Mark Jacheet will succeed Lussier, who officially steps down in April.

Recorded WebinarsJan 21, 2022
Watch: What the Industry Can Expect for Tucson 2022

National Jeweler chats with three colored stone dealers on recent buying activity and what that could mean for the upcoming gem shows.

Brought to you by
Melee the Show Launches Tucson Event, Returns to New York in 2022

The boutique tradeshow, happening first in Tucson then New York City, brings together upscale designers from around the world.

SourcingJan 21, 2022
HK Designs Named ‘Great Place to Work’

The Indian jewelry manufacturer joins Signet Jewelers, Target, and other companies who earned the certification.

Weekly QuizJan 21, 2022
This Week’s Quiz
Test your knowledge of the latest jewelry news with this quick test.
Take the Quiz
FinancialsJan 20, 2022
Signet Raises Guidance After Strong Holiday Sales

The jewelry giant’s holiday season revenue was up 30 percent year-over-year.

SourcingJan 20, 2022
Tara Pearls Is Ready to Unveil Its ‘Most Significant Acquisition’

With a retail price tag of $1 million, the special pearl will be unveiled at the upcoming Centurion show.

Brought to you by
Rare & Forever Can Help You Tell A New Story At The Counter And Close More Sales!

A.I. technology is revolutionizing the jewelry business through more accurate and consistent diamond grading.

FinancialsJan 20, 2022
Jewelry Sales Jump 38% in Q3 for Richemont

Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Buccellati were top performers for the luxury conglomerate over the key holiday season.