U.S. customers spent more online during this year’s holiday shopping season, a report by Mastercard confirmed Wednesday, with e-commerce sales hitting a record high.
The holiday shopping season is a crucial interval for retailers and might account for as much as 40% of annual sales. However, this year, Thanksgiving, which always starts the U.S. vacation shopping period, was on November 28, nearly a week later than 2018’s November 22, leaving retailers with six fewer days to push sales between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
E-commerce sales this year had 14.6% of total retail and surged 18.8% from the last year’s period, based on Mastercard’s data monitoring retail sales from November 1 through Christmas Eve.
Retailers have invested heavily to offer same-day delivery, lockers for store pick-up, and ramp up their online presence as they grapple against retail giant Amazon.com for market share.
U.S. President Trump, whose support in the polls has been buoyed by reliable economic records regardless of his impeachment by the House of Representatives, declared the news in a tweet in all capital letters.
However, Mastercard spokesperson William Tsang, citing 2018’s 5.1% growth in wholesales, stated this year’s holiday sales progress was not the biggest ever.
The vacation season was difficult for retailers after Amazon expanded its free return coverage to incorporate merchandise that wasn’t beforehand eligible, giving shoppers till January to return even small purchases purchased on the web site.
The National Retail Federation had estimated U.S. holiday retail sales over the two months to increase between 3.8% and 4.2%. That compares with a median annual increase of 3.7% over the last five years.
The SpendingPulse tracks spending by combining sales in Mastercard’s payments network with estimates of cash and different payment forms; however, it excludes car sales.