Holiday Sales Surged In December Amid Supply Chain Issues And Growing COVID-19 Cases

Harry Wilmerding 

Holiday sales surged at the fastest pace in nearly 20 years despite shoppers facing higher prices, supply issues and soaring COVID-19 cases, according to a key spending metric.

Holiday sales grew 8.5% on a year-over-year basis from Nov. 1 to Dec 24, according to the Mastercard SpendingPulse, which tracks payments, including cash and credit cards. Online sales increased 11% compared to the same period last year.

“Shoppers were eager to secure their gifts ahead of the retail rush, with conversations surrounding supply chain and labor supply issues sending consumers online and to stores in droves,” Steve Sadove, senior advisor at Mastercard, said in SpendingPulse report.  “Consumers splurged throughout the season, with apparel and department stores experiencing strong growth as shoppers sought to put their best dressed foot forward.”

Holiday sales were up 10.7% compared to the same period in 2019, according to CNBC.

Clothing sales increased 47%, jewelry 32% and electronics 16% on a year-over-year basis, according to CNBC. Department store sales reportedly increased 21% compared to the holiday season in 2020.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) said in November that it expected strong holiday sales as shoppers planned their purchases earlier than previous years. The NRF’s next report, scheduled for release in mid-January, will provide a more detailed landscape of the 2021 holiday season spending, according to CNBC.

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