Overall retail sales reflected record-high numbers this holiday season – at least in online shopping, Mastercard reported.
Even with sluggish sales at physical stores, total retail numbers were near $880 billion, up 3.4 percent from Nov. 1 and Dec. 24 compared to the same period in 2018, Mastercard reported in sales figures released on Thursday (Dec. 26).
Online spending reflected 15 percent of the total, up 18.8 percent over the same period last year. Physical stores comprised just 1.2 percent of total sales. Department store sales actually dropped 1.8 percent, Mastercard’s SpendingPulse report shows.
“eCommerce sales hit a record high this year, with more people doing their holiday shopping online,” said Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former CEO and chairman of Saks Incorporated. “Due to a later than usual Thanksgiving holiday, we saw retailers offering omnichannel sales earlier in the season, meeting consumers’ demand for the best deals across all channels and devices.”
Year-over-year eCommerce sales were up 17 percent in specialty apparel, 8 percent in jewelry, 7 percent in electronics and 9 percent in department stores.
There were 9,300 store closures in 2019, the most since numbers were tracked in 2012, according to Coresight, as reported by Financial Times. Closures were over 50 percent higher than store openings, reflecting a big increase over the 5,844 brick-and-mortar store closings in 2018.
Target and Walmart are among the retailers who have figured out how to adapt in an always-shifting environment. Forever 21 and Barneys New York were among those who were forced into bankruptcy.
Clothing sales were up 1 percent over 2018, but were shadowed by sales of electronics and appliances, which were up 4.6 percent.
Sales on Super Saturday – Dec. 21, the last Saturday before Christmas 2019 – made history, topping forecasts and logging the biggest retail sales in a single day in the U.S.
According to retail research firm Customer Growth Partners, consumers spent a total of $34.4 billion on Super Saturday in 2019, exceeding Black Friday sales by 10 percent.