Sales surpass 2019 numbers, rose at fastest pace in 17 years
Holiday sales rose 8.3% since 2019 according to data released by the National Retail Federation, rising at the fastest pace in 17 years.
Despite higher prices and concern with supply-chain issues, consumers clung to the gift-giving season and spent a record amount on presents like clothing and jewelry.
Online and other non-stores were up 23.9% respectively, driving overall sales upwards.
“Faced with rising transmission of the virus, state restrictions on retailers and heightened political and economic uncertainty, consumers chose to spend on gifts that lifted the spirits of their families and friends and provided a sense of normalcy given the challenging year,” president and CEO of the National Retail Federation Matthew Shay said in a statement, according to CNBC.
This is a higher rate than NRF previously predicted in November, where they anticipated more shopping would be done earlier to avoid supply-chain problems.
The rise in sales is noteworthy considering that consumer prices rose 5.7% over the past year, the fastest pace in 39 years.
The Federation originally predicted sales would increase between 3.6% and 5.2% from 2019 from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31, a total between $755.3 billion and $766.7 billion.
NRF additionally predicted online sales would increase between 20% and 30%, a total between $202.5 billion and $218.4 billion.
Small box stores also had an impact, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse, which tracks spending including both cash and credit purchases. This claim was made apparent by the bustling shopping centers here in Santa Barbara.
“Shoppers were eager to secure their gifts ahead of the retail rush, with conversations surrounding supply chain and labor supply issues sending consumers online and to stores in droves,” said senior advisor for Mastercard Steve Sadove in a media release. “Consumers splurged throughout the season, with apparel and department stores experiencing strong growth as shoppers sought to put their best dressed foot forward.”
When big box retailers like Target and Walmart had more limited options because of the supply-chain, Americans proved their resilience by turning to smaller box stores or other platforms like eBay.