Mastercard SpendingPulse: U.S. retail sales grew 7.6%* this holiday season


According toMastercard SpendingPulseTM, U.S. retail sales excluding automotiveincreased 7.6% year-over-year this holiday season, running from November 1 through December 24. Mastercard SpendingPulse measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment and is not adjusted for inflation.

This holiday retail season looked different than years past, said Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former CEO and Chairman of Saks Incorporated. Retailers discounted heavily but consumers diversified their holiday spending to accommodate rising prices and an appetite for experiences and festive gatherings post-pandemic.

Key trends this holiday season, included:

  • E-commerce shoppers add to cart: Online sales grew 10.6% compared to the same period last year, the preliminary insights show. This holiday season, e-commerce made up 21.6% of total retail sales, up from 20.9% in 2021 and 20.6% in 2020. The channel continues to experience elevated growth as consumers prioritize convenience and availability of discounts.
  • Weekend shopping reigns supreme: Black Friday sustains its title as the top spending day of the 2022 holiday season, up +12% year-over-year excluding automotive. This was followed closely by Saturdays in December.
  • Ringing in the holidays in restaurants: Building on the ongoing demand for experiences, in-person dining continued to show strong momentum with restaurants up 15.1% YOY. From gatherings with co-workers to dinners out with friends and family, the festive season brought consumers out for the holidays.

Inflation altered the way U.S. consumers approached their holiday shopping from hunting for the best deals to making trade-offs that stretched gift-giving budgets, said Michelle Meyer, North America Chief Economist, Mastercard Economics Institute. Consumers and retailers navigated the season well, displaying resilience amid increasing economic pressures.

*Excluding automotive

Mastercard SpendingPulse: Child Tax Credit Helps Lift U.S. Retail Sales Growth to 10.9%* in July

Retail sales in the U.S. grew for the 11th consecutive month in July, according to Mastercard SpendingPulseTM, which measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment. With more cash in hand—fueled in part by the Child Tax Credit and pent-up savings—consumers drove U.S. retail spending growth excluding automotive and gasoline to +10.9% compared to July 2020. This is nearly quadruple the average growth in the month of July**.

At a national level, back-to-school shopping is well underway, impacting a number of sectors as anticipated in our forecast. Overall, key retail trends from July include:  

  • Child Tax Credit Boosts Department Stores and Apparel Sales: The first of six monthly Child Tax Credit payments provided parents with an infusion of cash during the peak back-to-school shopping season, with Apparel (+80% YOY) and Department Store (+44.8% YOY) sectors seeing an uptick in sales for the month. This was concentrated in the days immediately following the first distribution on July 15.
  • Return of the In-Store Shopper: Brick-and-mortar browsing is making its return, with in-stores sales making up 81.9% of total retail sales (ex auto) for the month. According to Mastercard SpendingPulse, in-store sales were up +15.5% YOY in July and weekends experienced positive spikes in spending as a result of in-store shoppers returning to physical stores.
  • Making a House a Home: According to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau, new home sales have fallen to an 18-month low. However, consumers are still eager to turn their houses into homes as the Furniture & Furnishings sector continues to grow on a YOY (+3.2%) and YO2Y (+26.8%) basis.

“While e-commerce continues to play an increasingly significant role for retail, nothing replaces the in-store experience,” said Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former CEO and Chairman of Saks Incorporated. “July numbers reflect a return to the store. Consumers are shopping, spending and splurging across channels.”

Mastercard’s chief economist and head of the Mastercard Economics Institute Bricklin Dwyer said, “Back to school shopping is back. Combined with greater savings and higher demand, the Child Tax Credit has provided a boost for families and is putting more money into retailers’ pockets.”

*Excluding auto and gas

**The average year-over-year growth in July over the past four years was 2.9%