US Holiday Retail Sales Rise 3%; Online Shopping Booms

US retail sales rose 3% during this year’s expanded holiday shopping season from October 11 to December 24, a report by Mastercard said on Saturday, powered by a pandemic-driven shift toward online shopping.

US e-commerce sales jumped 49% in this year’s holiday shopping season, according to Mastercard Spending Pulse report, underscoring the COVID-19 pandemic’s role in transforming customers’ shopping habits.

Holiday e-commerce sales made up 19.7% of total retail sales this year, the data showed, noting that options such as buy online and pick-up-in-store, contactless technologies were key for retailers.

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The holiday shopping season can account for the majority of certain retailers’ annual sales, but the health crisis meant several retailers including Walmart Inc and Target Corp , faced with capacity constraints in certain stores, rolled out their holiday promotions early.

E-commerce giant Inc also pushed back its annual summer promotional event to October, marking a longer-than-ever holiday season for retailers who missed out on sales for several weeks during the lock-downs earlier this year.

“This was a healthier holiday season than many had forecast,” senior advisor for Mastercard Steve Sadove told Reuters in an interview…   Financial Post

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