Holiday sales totals are in. See how this year compared to 2021

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It is official – retail sales increased this holiday season according to Mastercard.

Mastercard SpendingPulse, which measures unadjusted in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment, showed that U.S. retail sales excluding automotive increased a total of 7.6 percent year-over-year from Nov. 1 through Dec. 24.

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

In total, the increase is higher than Mastercard’s initial September holiday forecast, but less than that 8.5 percent increase seen last year.

Other key takeaways this holiday season included the following:

  • E-commerce shoppers ‘add to cart’: Online sales grew 10.6 percent compared to the same period last year, the preliminary insights show. This holiday season, e-commerce made up 21.6 percent of total retail sales, up from 20.9 percent in 2021 and 20.6 percent in 2020.
  • Weekend Warriors: Black Friday retains its title as the top spending day of the 2022 holiday season, up 12 percent year-over-year excluding automotive. This was followed closely by Saturdays in December.
  • Holiday Foodies: Building on an ongoing demand for experiences, in-person dining spending continued to show strong momentum with restaurants up 15.1 percent from 2021.

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,” noted Michelle Meyer, North America chief economist for Mastercard Economics Institute. “Consumers and retailers navigated the season well, displaying resilience amid increasing economic pressures.”

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