Late last week, Mastercard SpendingPulse announced its U.S. Retail Holiday Shopping Mid-Season Update, which showed strong growth of 3.6 percent compared to the same time last year.
“When we look at holiday spend, it’s easy to see that 2017 will likely be a good year for retailers," said Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president of market insights. "Unemployment is at 4.1 percent, wages are rising, consumers are confident. It is all playing out in the shopping picture this holiday season as retailers and gift recipients would want it to."
The Mastercard SpendingPulse reports on retail sales in the U.S. across all payment types. It's based on the sales activity in the MasterCard payments network, as well as survey-based estimates of cash and check payments.
According to the report, eCommerce sales are up 16.3 percent since November, with Cyber Week seeing higher growth than Black Friday this year, up 5 percent year-over-year. What’s more, retailers' move to launch sales early in November resulted in strong gains, with early shoppers focusing on electronics, home improvements and jewelry, although all retail categories saw growth. Home-related product sales increased 11.6 percent, while home furniture and furnishing sales were 3.5 percent higher than last year.
The Mastercard SpendingPulse also found that U.K. retail sales were up 3.1 percent in November, with eCommerce sales up 12.2 percent. Categories like furniture and electronics were among the sales leaders.
A recent Wall Street Journal report echoed the sentiment, reporting that the increased spending so far this holiday season is coming from both online and physical stores, benefiting the likes of Walmart and Nordstrom. Home furnishings, electronics and appliance stores are also seeing strong spending.
In November, eCommerce, brick-and-mortar stores and restaurants saw an increase in spending of 0.8 percent compared to October, much more than the 0.3 percent economists were forecasting. It was up 5.8 percent from a year ago, marking the largest yearly increase in November in six years. Department stores and other general merchandise retailers saw a 3.6 percent uptick in sales during November, marking the best November since 2010.