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Commerce – Americans Spent Lavishly on the Holidays
– Americans spent lavishly on the holidays
Before the appearance of the Omicron variant, which once again threatens the economy, spending by Americans rose sharply in November and December.
U.S. consumers have not kept the expense for the holidays: Retail sales soared 8.5% between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24 from a year ago, according to the SpendingPulse Mastercard study released on Sunday .
This is the strongest increase in 17 years for this barometer of consumer spending (excluding cars), driven by a new jump in online sales (+ 11%) but also thanks to a physical return to stores (+8, 1%).
“Consumers have been splurging throughout the season,” summed up Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former CEO of upscale clothing chain Saks Fifth Avenue. “Clothing stores and department stores have experienced strong growth, consumers wanted to look good,” he said in a statement.
“Season of rebirth”
Shortly before the spread of the Omicron variant in the United States, which again cast a shadow over the health of economic activity, Americans rushed to clothing (+ 47.3% in sales over the year at the same time), but also on jewelry (+ 32%) and in department stores (+ 21.2%). In preference to electronic products, whose sales growth remained solid (+ 16.2%).
“It was a season of rebirth for retailers as consumers filled their shopping carts with gifts and gadgets,” said Mastercard. The study also shows that American households made their purchases earlier.
“They were eager to secure their gifts (…) with all the talk about labor and supply chain issues,” said Steve Sadove. Black Friday, and its November 26 sales just after Thanksgiving, “was once again the day we spent the most for the 2021 holiday season,” says Mastercard.