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Celebrating into the New Year: Mastercard SpendingPulse U.S. Holiday Season Recap

According to the final estimates reported by Mastercard SpendingPulse, retail sales grew 4.0 percent in the U.S. during the 2016 holiday season, exceeding initial expectations. These figures exclude automotive and gasoline sales.

During this same period (Nov. 1 through Dec. 24), online shopping sales grew 18.9 percent, up from 17.5 percent growth last year. Online sales started strong on Black Friday and then carried that momentum through mid-December. Among the primary online drivers were specialty apparel, electronics, appliances and jewelry, all up double digits.

Traditionally, the final days before Christmas, including “Super Saturday” – the last Saturday before the holiday – deliver the greatest activity. This year was no different. Overall, the eight-week holiday season was a positive for retailers, even as severe weather over parts of the U.S. slowed activity in the days leading up to Dec. 24.

A macro-economic indicator, Mastercard SpendingPulse reports on national retail sales and is based on aggregate sales activity in the Mastercard payments network, coupled with estimates for all other payment forms, including cash and check. These spending trends do not in any way contain, reflect or relate to actual Mastercard operational or financial performance, or specific payment card issuer data.