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U.S. Holiday-Season Sales +8% as eCommerce Booms: MasterCard

Dec 30, 2015 6:43 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... U.S. retail sales grew 7.9 percent during the shopping season from Black Friday to Christmas Eve, according to the MasterCard SpendingPulse. The survey tracks sales using cards, cash and checks, excluding automobiles and gasoline purchases.

Ecommerce was among the biggest winners this holiday season, growing about 20 percent from a year ago, MasterCard Advisors said in a statement December 28. According to the company’s recent Omnishopper Guide, 70 percent of U.S. consumers report doing more research online than before.

“Transitioning from research to a sale makes sense, if the proper customer experience and incentive — free or fast shipping, for instance — is in place,” the statement said.

From November through December, retail sales excluding auto and gas increased 4.6 percent compared with the same period in 2014. Including gas, the growth was just 2.7 percent, “reinforcing the fact that consumers are spending the money they're saving at the pump” because of lower fuel prices.

"After a slow start, I'm very happy to see that the holiday season was hot for retailers," said Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president for market Insights for MasterCard Advisors. "We saw some very promising trends. The double-digit growth in furniture sales, for instance, shows that consumers are willing and able to splurge on big-ticket items. Ecommerce's rise is a solid indication of an empowered and savvy shopper. We'll be watching to see if this behavior continues into 2016.”

The MasterCard SpendingPulse’s findings are based on aggregate sales activity in the MasterCard payments network, as well as survey-based estimates for certain other payment forms such as cash and check.

Separately, the Conference Board said the Consumer Confidence Index in the U.S. improved from 92.6 in November to 96.5 in December, following a month-on-month decline in November. The Present Situation Index increased from 110.9 to 115.3 and the Expectations Index improved from 80.4 to 83.9.
Tags: holiday sales, holiday season, MasterCard Advisors. U.S. retail, MasterCard SpendingPulse, Rapaport News, retail, u.s.
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