Mastercard SpendingPulse: U.S. retail sales up +6.9% year over year in February

March 9, 2023 | Purchase, NY

According to Mastercard SpendingPulse™, which measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment, U.S. retail sales excluding automotive were up +6.9% year-over-year (YOY) in February. Mastercard SpendingPulse reflects nominal spending and is not adjusted for inflation.

“Following a dynamic holiday season, consumer spending returned to a familiar and healthy balance in February,” said Steve Sadove, Mastercard Senior Advisor and Former CEO of Saks, Inc. "Consumers have remained resilient, prioritizing discounts where possible to counteract inflationary pressures." 

At a national level, key spending trends from February include:

  • E-commerce resilience: Following months of strong growth, E-commerce sales continued to climb, up +13.2% YOY as winter weather activity in many parts of the country kept consumers inside and ordering from the comfort of home. In-store sales were up +5.5% YOY.
  • Experiences remain a top priority: Spending on Restaurants (+14.2%), Airlines (+15.6%)* and Lodging (+42.7%)* experienced elevated growth YOY. This reflects suppressed growth in 2022, as well as continued demand for travel and experiences ahead of the popular spring break season.
  • Apparel & Department stores show moderate growth: Apparel (+3.9%) and Department store (+5.6%) sectors experienced modest year-over-year growth in February as consumers put an emphasis on pricing and value. In particular, Valentine’s Day drove a spike in sales across gifting sectors, including Apparel, Department Stores, and Jewelry.


"Retail spending continued to grow at a steady rate compared to 2022,” said Michelle Meyer, North America Chief Economist, Mastercard Economics Institute. “The consumer remains supported by robust labor market conditions with some added cushion from savings.”  

* Travel services such as Airlines and Lodging are not included in the total retail sales figure.

Media Contacts

Alexandria Pierroz, Mastercard
Laura Nizlek, Mastercard
(914) 535-0862 |

About Mastercard SpendingPulse:

Mastercard SpendingPulse reports on national retail sales across all payment types in select markets around the world. The findings are based on aggregate sales activity in the Mastercard payments network, coupled with survey-based estimates for certain other payment forms, such as cash and check.

Mastercard SpendingPulse defines “U.S. retail sales” as sales at retailers and food services merchants of all sizes. Sales activity within the services sector (for example, travel services such as airlines and lodging) are not included in the total retail sales figure.

About Mastercard (NYSE: MA)

Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.