Mastercard SpendingPulse: Holiday Sales Expected to Grow 3.1% This Year

November 4, 2019 | By William Tsang

Retail sales this holiday season are expected to be a continuation of the same, in line with the solid performance seen throughout 2019.

According to Mastercard SpendingPulse™, which measures consumer spending across all payment types including cash and check, we can expect overall U.S. retail sales (excluding automotive) to grow 3.1% between November 1 and December 24. This is compared to the same period last year.

Key trends to watch:

    • Omnichannel expectations: This holiday season, online sales are expected to make up 14.6% of total retail sales (ex auto) as double-digit ecommerce growth continues.
    • Experience is everything: The experiential categories—such as restaurants and travel—are expected to continue their growth trend as consumers redefine the “splurge.”
    • Calendar shift: Due to a later than usual Thanksgiving holiday, there are only 26 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year vs. 32 days in 2018. This will cause a concentrated number of shoppers in stores on key shopping days as well as a likely increase in intensity and importance of online sales and promotional activity before and during Thanksgiving week.

Top U.S. Holiday Shopping Days by Spend – 2019

Rank Date
1 11/29/2019
2 12/21/2019
3 12/14/2019
4 12/20/2019
5 12/7/2019
6 12/13/2019
7 11/30/2019
8 12/6/2019
9 11/27/2019
10 11/23/2019
  Mastercard SpendingPulse™

“Despite fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the sales outlook remains positive overall,” said Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former CEO and Chairman of Saks Incorporated. “A shorter holiday season puts more importance on each shopping day of the season, making the role of the internet important in helping deliver consumers the omnichannel shopping experience they want.”

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.

William Tsang