The Christmas season is a time of giving and in 2018 U.S. holiday shoppers gave over $850 billion to businesses all across the country. This number is a 5.1 percent increase from the total holiday gross over the past six years showing a growth in the overall domestic economy. This is a heavy sigh of relief to many whom thought that the market volatility was slowing global economic growth and political instability was affecting consumer confidence.
One of these individuals was Steve Sadove, senior advisor for MasterCard who released a statement saying “I don’t see that (market volatility and government shutdown) as having any impact… but I am cautiously optimistic for the consumer going into 2019”.
Prior to this record setting number the National Retail Federation estimated that the market would increase by an average of 4.55 percent. The fact that the increase was even larger than projections hypothesized, certifies that low unemployment rates and increases in annual wage are positively affecting consumer spending.
The data behind this growth is staggering and shows that a vigorous economy combined with early shopping discounts pushed consumers to spend a little extra this year. Amazon disclosed in a report that they experienced a “record-breaking” selling season with their shares increasing by 5 percent. “This season was our best yet,” Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s CEO Worldwide Consumer, said on Wednesday.
Other major retailers were able to garner success from this holiday season as well including: Kohl’s Corp who’s shares increased by 4.2 percent, Macy’s Inc who gained 3.6 percent, Nordstrom Inc who gained 3 percent, and Target Corp & Walmart Inc both rising over 1 percent.
The 5.1 percent sales growth included in-store and online sales between Nov. 1st and Dec. 24th. Online sales posted strong gains, rising 19.1 percent, according to the SpendingPulse retail report, published by Mastercard’s analytics division. “From shopping aisles to online carts, consumer confidence translated into holiday cheer for retail,” said Sadove.
Other retailers experienced this increase with American Eagle Outfitters Inc and Abercrombie & Fitch Co finding success with a 7.9 percent increase in apparel. This marks the largest percentage of growth in nearly a decade for the industry.
Home Improvement was another industry that experienced a rise this season with an estimated 9 percent growth. The top U.S. home improvement organizations, Home Depot Inc and Lowe’s Cos Inc both experienced their shares increase by 2 percent.
Surprisingly one of the industries that experienced a decline was appliances and electronics which saw a reduction of 0.7% in contrast to a 7.5% rise last year.
This consumer analytical report bodes well for the future and the estimated economic expansion that could potentially be on the horizon.