Christmas Cheer for UK Retailers as Strong Festive Sales Forecast

November 15, 2021
  • Retailing during this year’s festive season is expected to bounce back with 8% YOY growth according to Mastercard SpendingPulse
  • Clothing and Jewellery forecast to be biggest drivers of increased spend as Britons plan for the return of in-person festivities
  • The shift to shopping online is here to stay, with sales predicted to be 35% higher than pre-pandemic (2019’s festive season)

As thoughts start to turn to the festive period, UK retailers are preparing for a strong uplift in sales this holiday shopping season. According to Mastercard SpendingPulse™, which measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment, UK sales* are expected to grow by 8% between 1st November and 26th December compared to the same time period in 2020.

As we enter the new normal post pandemic, the move to shopping online is expected to continue, ecommerce sales forecast for November and December are expected to climb 35% compared to the same season in 2019.

Spend on Clothing is set to increase 11% YOY as people prepare to put their best foot forward for the party season, making up for lost opportunities in 2020. Looking at online sales exclusively, a 32% increase YOY in Clothing sales in expected, which is a 71% YO2Y increase on 2019.  Total Jewellery sales are also forecast to increase 19% on 12 months ago as more people treat themselves and loved ones to new bling for the holidays.

Home Furnishing sales also look to increase 8% on 2019 pre-pandemic levels – however again taking just online sales, shops can expect to see a 46% increase over the same period. This ties into the of returning to socialising and parties for friends and families at home in the run up to and during the holidays, with Grocery spending also expected to see an uplift of 6% YOY. 

“The weeks leading up to Christmas have always been key for retailers. According to our SpendingPulse forecast this window in 2021 is set to bounce back strongly for UK shops. Hopes of a more normal festive period brings an air of excitement as people start to get into the holiday spirit and look forward to in-person events that most were unable to enjoy last year,” said Kelly Devine, Divisional President, Mastercard UK & Ireland.


Anticipated Retail Sales for the Festive Season (1st Nov – 26th Dec 2021):


YOY change vs. 2020

YO2Y change vs. 2019

Total Retail Sales















Home Furnishings



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

*Excluding petrol, cars and restaurants

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.