Diamond markets are relatively quiet but there is increased attention on U.S. Christmas retail figures as analysts scale-back seasonal growth expectations. Aside from strong online retail sales growth, the industry may have been hit by weaker than expected consumer sentiment following a strong Thanksgiving weekend.
MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse estimated that retail sales for such key gifting categories as electronics, clothing, jewelry, luxury goods, furniture and other home goods rose only 0.7 percent between October 28 and December 24. But retailers could still experience strong sales this week said Michael McNamara, the vice president for research and analysis at SpendingPulse.
Meanwhile, comScore observed that Christmas-season retail sales from November 1 through December 22 jumped 16 percent year on year to $38.7 billion and that rate of growth was in line with expectations.
“Free Shipping Day kicked off the final week before Christmas on a strong note with $1.01 billion in spending,” said comScore's chairman Gian Fulgoni. “It was the opening to an exceptionally strong week, which saw spending grow by 53 percent. We typically do not see such heavy spending this late in the season, but the fact that Free Shipping Day occurred on a Monday, combined with the fact that so many retailers extended their promotions into the middle of the week -- with guaranteed shipping by Christmas -- helped deliver an encouraging late-season surge. The result has been a significant uptick in the season-to-date growth rate, which now stands at 16 percent.”