Despite uncertainty about the U.S. election, shoppers didn’t reign in their spending this past October, enabling retail sales for the previous month to top expectations.
According to a report, retail sales gained 4.3 percent in October, buoyed by hiring and wage growth, which was more important than whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton would win the election. (Trump was victorious in what is seen as an historic election.)
The strong showing on the retail front was across key categories, including building material and garden equipment, which saw sales increase 1.1 percent in October compared to September. Sales of health and personal care products increased 0.8 percent from last month, while miscellaneous store retailers and online retailers lodged double-digit growth when compared to a year ago. Amazon and eBay fall into the latter category, which bodes well for both eTailers.
The good results in October come amid expectations that this holiday season could turn out to be a strong one for retailers, particularly online ones. According to a recent American Express survey, consumers, on average, plan to spend $908 during the holiday season, up 8 percent from last year. Among the affluent, the amount goes up to $1,513.
According to American Express, the most popular gifts this holiday season include gift cards, clothing/accessories and toys/games. “While consumers are spending more money on gifts this year, they are becoming savvier with how they spend their time shopping,” said Kartik Mani, EVP of global consumer lending at American Express, in a recent press release highlighting the results. “With our constant connection to technology, more Americans than ever before are using their mobile devices to help them make holiday purchases.”
The survey also found that three in four Americans, or 76 percent, are using their mobile devices for holiday shopping — be it browsing to compare prices or to check out online deals.