The National Retail Federation says non-store sales, which include e-commerce, grew 9%, while total retail increased 3% during the holiday season, below the estimated 3.7% growth.

Non-store holiday sales increased 9% to $105 billion for the 2015 holiday shopping season of November and December, while total retail sales increased 3% to $626.14 billion, according to the National Retail Federation.

The 9% increase beat the NRF’s October projection of 6-8% non-store sales growth, while total retail fell short of the predicted 3.7% growth. Backing out non-store sales, NRF’s data suggests store sales increased 1.9%.

“Make no mistake about it, this was a tough holiday season for the industry. Weather, inventory challenges, advances in consumer technology and the deep discounts that started earlier in the season and that have carried into January presented stiff headwinds as retailers competed with one another and their own bottom line,” says NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay.

Online sales are part of non-store sales, but that category also includes sales through mail-order catalogs, telephone sales and other direct-to-consumer sales that do not take place online or in stores. 

December retail sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) decreased 0.2% on a seasonally adjusted basis from November and increased 3.1% unadjusted on a year-over-year basis, according to the NRF.


“A double whammy of deflation and December weather constricted holiday sales growth as well as consumer spending,” says NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “The results of December’s retail sales remind us just how significant of an impact unusual weather can have on retail and overall economic activity.” Much of the country experienced warmer-than-usual or record-setting temperatures late in 2015, contributing to a decline in demand for cold-weather apparel and accessories.

Data released Jan. 8 by web measurement firm comScore Inc. shows consumers spent $69.08 billion online during the holiday shopping season, and $12.65 billion of that was via mobile devices. ComScore estimates online retail sales grew 13% during November and December of 2014 versus the same months in 2014.

Payment processor First Data says online sales accounted for 20.2% of retail sales during the holiday period of Oct. 31-Jan. 4.