By: Staff – newsmax.com – December 26, 2017
U.S. shoppers spent more online during this year’s holiday shopping season, a report by Mastercard Inc showed on Wednesday, with e-commerce sales hitting a record high.
The holiday shopping season is a crucial period for retailers and can account for up to 40% of annual sales. But this year, Thanksgiving, which traditionally starts the U.S. holiday shopping period, was on Nov. 28, nearly a week later than last year’s Nov. 22, leaving retailers with six fewer days to drive sales between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Overall holiday retail sales, excluding autos, rose 3.4%.
President Donald Trump, whose support in the polls has been buoyed by strong economic data despite his impeachment by the House of Representatives, heralded the news in a tweet in all capital letters.
“2019 HOLIDAY RETAIL SALES WERE UP 3.4% FROM LAST YEAR, THE BIGGEST NUMBER IN U.S. HISTORY. CONGRATULATIONS AMERICA!,” Trump tweeted.
“E-commerce sales hit a record high this year with more people doing their holiday shopping online,” said Steve Sadove, senior adviser for Mastercard.
“Due to a later than usual Thanksgiving holiday, we saw retailers offering omnichannel sales earlier in the season, meeting consumers’ demand for the best deals across all channels and devices,” Sadove said.
Retailers have invested heavily to provide same-day delivery, lockers for store pick-up and improve their online presence as they battle against retail giant Amazon.com Inc for market share.
The White House had no immediate comment on the apparent discrepancy.
Despite slowing global growth, U.S. consumer spending is benefiting from wage growth and a strong labor market, retail consultants and analysts say.
The holiday season was challenging for retailers after Amazon expanded its free return policy to include products that were not previously eligible, giving consumers until January to return even small purchases bought on the website.
The SpendingPulse report tracks spending by combining sales activity in Mastercard’s payments network with estimates of cash and other payment forms but excludes automobile sales.
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