Meanwhile, total retail sales rise 3.4% from Nov. 1-Dec. 24, Mastercard finds.

Shoppers continue to spend more online during the holidays, new research finds. Online sales from Nov. 1-Dec. 24 grew 18.8% over the same period last year, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse. That’s a faster growth rate than last year when web sales grew 18.4%.

Apparel was the standout ecommerce sales category, with online sales for that category growing 17% from Nov. 1-Dec. 24 compared with the same period last year.

Total retail sales for the period, excluding automobile sales, grew 3.4%. Mastercard SpendingPulse bases its findings on aggregate sales in the Mastercard payments network, as well as survey-based estimates for other payment forms, such as cash and check.

Ecommerce sales hit a record high this year with more people doing their holiday shopping online,” says Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard. “Due to a later-than-usual Thanksgiving holiday, we saw retailers offering omnichannel sales earlier in the season, meeting consumers’ demand for the best deals across all channels and devices.”


Additionally, Mastercard finds:

  • Total apparel sales grew 1% year over year.
  • Jewelry sales grew 1.8% overall, with online jewelry sales growing 8.8%.
  • Total department stores’ sales fell 1.8% while online sales for department stores grew 6.9%.
  • Electronics and appliances sales overall grew 4.6%, and ecommerce sales for the category grew 10.7%.

Mastercard says holiday ecommerce sales accounted for 14.6% of total retail sales. Online’s share of overall retail spending on Black Friday was 15.4%. On Cyber Monday, it was 24.5%.