Fueled by high consumer confidence and a robust job market, USA retail sales in the holiday period rose at their best pace since 2011, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse, which tracks both online and in-store spending.
Sarah Quinlan, head of market insights for Mastercard Advisors, disclosed the figure after the payments processor's analytics arm published its SpendingPulse retail report. The figure excludes sales of automobiles.
SpendingPulse said the moderate sales increases seen in apparel and department stores were particularly impressive given this year's slew of store closures.
Not surprisingly, online shopping had the biggest year-over-year increase - 18.1% - "boosted by a late season rally", Mastercard said.
United Parcel Service Inc, the world's largest package delivery company, said on Wednesday it was on track to return a record number of packages this holiday, having handled more than 1 million returns to retailers daily in December.
The US holiday shopping season is on track to break sales records on the back of surging consumer confidence and increased use of mobile devices, presenting an unexpected boon for retailers and the delivery companies they rely on.
However, some indications so that American might be stretching finances for their shopping splurge during the holiday. "The strong USA economy was a contributing factor, but we also have to recognize that retailers who tried new strategies to engage holiday shoppers were the beneficiaries of this sales increase". Sales of home furniture and furnishings separately grew 5.1%.
Retailers got a gift from shoppers this season, according to early data on holiday retail sales.
Remember those Christmas promotions right after Halloween and into the first weeks of November?
Shoppers continued spending late into the holiday season, making December 23rd second only to the post-Thanksgiving Black Friday in terms of single-day spending.
Shoppers across the US were spending large sums of money prior to the tax bill by the Republicans that promised tax cuts was passed, said reports that analyzed holiday spending habits.