Dec. 26 (UPI) — Retail sales during the holiday season jumped 8.5% compared with 2020, according to a report published Sunday by the credit card company Mastercard.
E-commerce sales were up 11% in 2021 for the holiday season running from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24 compared to the previous year, according to the Mastercard SpendingPulse report. Online sales were up a massive 61% from 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic led to a historic increase in shopping online.
Online shopping made up 20.9% of all retail sales in 2021, up from just 14.6% in 2019 while the e-commerce boom rages, according to the report.
Steve Sadove, senior adviser for Mastercard, said in a statement that the growth in holiday sales happened early because of “conversations surrounding supply chain and labor supply issues.”
“Consumers splurged throughout the season, with apparel and department stores experiencing strong growth as shoppers sought to put their best-dressed foot forward,” Sadove said.
The Mastercard numbers match September projections from Deloitte, a professional and financial services firm that provides consulting and advisement to companies in a variety of industries, which predicted that e-commerce holiday sales could reach between $210 billion and $218 billion this season.
Daniel Bachman, Deloitte’s U.S. economic forecaster, projected at the time that American shoppers would reduce their savings rate and increase their spending habits to pre-pandemic levels.
“Further, e-commerce sales will continue to grow as consumers demonstrate an ongoing and steady movement toward buying online across all categories,” Bachman said in September.
The Mastercard report noted that jewelry sales increased 32% percent in 2021 from 2020, and are up 26.2% compared to 2019. Apparel sales are up 47.3% in 2021 compared to 2020, and up 29% compared to 2019.
Vehicle sales, which were excluded from the Mastercard report, held steady around 13 million units sold for each month in September, October and November after peaking in April at above pre-pandemic levels, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
Data for car sales in December were not immediately available.
Last month, a report from the consumer data research firm Cardify found that more Americans were turning to “buy now, pay later” options for their holiday shopping this year — opting to choose debt rather than pay for gifts outright.