Early Festive Retail Sales* show 9% increase Year-on-Year

December 16, 2021 | London
  • Retail sales* from 1 November -10 December were up 9% YOY according to Mastercard SpendingPulse
  • Bounce back of the High Street with in-store sales up 26% YOY
  • Jewellery & Clothing sectors are seeing largest increases in sales

UK retailers have enjoyed a strong start to the festive season as new insights from Mastercard SpendingPulse show UK retail sales* increased 9% year-on-year between 1st November and 10th December. Mastercard SpendingPulse™ measures overall retail sales across all payment types including cash.

In the UK, the High Street has rebounded with in store sales up 26% compared to the same period in 2020. With lockdowns and restrictions in place for most of the festive shopping season 2020, online sales surged as consumers turned to e-commerce for everyday essentials as well as their gifting needs. This year, with broader store re-openings in 2021, shoppers are still buying online but returning to their in-store shopping experiences.

Jewellery saw the largest increase of any sector, with spend on bling up 29% on a year ago, as people were able to go out to more events, parties and socialise more in 2021 compared to 2020.  Events such as weddings are also seen as a key driver for the uplift in Jewellery sales, as is the assumption many are treating themselves and loved ones this Christmas.

Spend on Clothing also saw a 16% increase YOY as people prepare to put their best foot forward for the party season, making up for lost opportunities in 2020. The pent-up demand for clothing, beyond what you can see on a virtual conference call, and more consumer movement in 2020 compared to 2021 were key drivers for the increase. 

“Retail sales in the UK have shown good resilience so far during the 2021 festive season. Sales growth got off to a slow start in the first few days of November but then quickly recovered to post positive results compared to a year ago.  said Kelly Devine, Divisional President, Mastercard UK & Ireland. “With the current uncertainty around the impact of the Omicron variant, last minute Christmas shoppers are planning ahead to avoid missing out on the online delivery windows.”


Mastercard SpendingPulse UK YOY Retail Sales Growth

Nov 1 – Dec 10, 2021 vs. Nov 1 – Dec 10, 2020

Total Retail Sales*


In Store Retail Sales


Online Retail Sales








Source: Mastercard SpendingPulse, which measures overall retail sales* across all payment types, including cash and cheque

 *Excluding automotive, petrol and hospitality

Media Contacts

Suman Hughes, Mastercard

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 cheque. As such, SpendingPulse™ insights do not in any way contain, reflect or relate to actual Mastercard operational or financial performance, or specific payment-card-issuer data.

About Mastercard (UK)

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.