US holiday season retail sales rise 3% as online shopping booms

US holiday season retail sales rise 3% as online shopping booms
Source: Reuters
2 Min Read

Daily US Times: A report by Mastercard Inc said on Saturday that US retail sales rose 3% during this year’s expanded holiday shopping season from Oct. 11 to Dec. 24, powered by a pandemic-driven shift toward online shopping.

According to the Mastercard SpendingPulse report, e-commerce sales in the US jumped 49% in this year’s holiday shopping season, underscoring the coronavirus pandemic’s role in transforming customers’ shopping habits.

The data showed that holiday e-commerce sales made up 19.7% of total retail sales this year, noting that options such as buy online and pick-up-in-store, contactless technologies were key for retailers.

The shopping in the holiday season can account for the majority of certain retailers’ annual sales, but the health crisis meant several retailers including Target Corp and Walmart Inc, faced with capacity constraints in certain stores, rolled out their holiday promotions early.

E-commerce giant Amazon also pushed back its annual summer promotional event to October, marking a longer-than-ever holiday season for retailers who missed out on sales for several weeks during the Covid lockdowns earlier this year.

Steve Sadove, a senior advisor for Mastercard told Reuters in an interview: “This was a healthier holiday season than many had forecast.”

Sadove believes the trend will continue to grow in next year, with smaller retailers also embracing new technology to offer customers new ways to shop.

As people spending longer at home due to extended work-from-home, remote learning policies have fueled demand for home-improvement and home decor products, with according to the report, retail sales in the home furniture and furnishings category jumping 16.2%.

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