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Online sales had the largest year-over-year growth in December among categories the NRF tracks — by far.

Online and non-store sales increased 31.17% year over year in December, according to a National Retail Federation statement released this week.

“December’s numbers combined with November’s results show retailers had a very successful two-month holiday season,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Clearly, retailers got it right this holiday season, providing consumers with what they wanted, options on when and where to make their purchases and with prices customers were comfortable paying.”

December 2023 online and offline retail sales

Online and non-store sales also increased 2.59% month over month in December, according to data from the NRF and CNBC. Total retail sales grew 3.07% year over year in December, according to the NRF’s statement citing Retail Monitor. They also grew 0.44% over November.

That follows 4.24% year-over-year growth in November, which also grew 0.73% over October, according to Retail Monitor data that the NRF cited.

The holiday-season sales growth contributed to 5.32% total retail sales growth over 2022, the NRF said.


This is the third month that CNBC/NRF Retail Monitor, which was launched in November, has provided data on monthly retail sales, the NRF said.

“Unlike survey-based numbers collected by the Census Bureau, the Retail Monitor uses actual, anonymized credit and debit card purchase data compiled by Affinity and does not need to be revised monthly or annually,” the NRF statement said.

December sales growth by category

December sales grew year over year in six out of nine retail categories the NRF tracks, one of which is online sales. They also grew compared to November in five of the nine categories. But online sales growth led the charge, as no other category’s sales increased in the double-digit growth range.

  • Health and personal care stores grew sales 5.58% year over year and 0.17% over November.
  • Clothing and accessories store sales increased 4.28% year over year but decreased 0.44% month over month.
  • Grocery and beverage stores increased sales 2.39% year over year and 0.84% month over month.
  • Sporting goods, hobby, music and bookstores were up 2.25% year over year and 0.62% month over month.
  • General merchandise stores were largely flat, growing 0.84% year over year and 0.86% over November.
  • Electronics and appliance store sales were down 6.3% year over year and 3.22% month over month.
  • Furniture and home furnishings store sales decreased 3.76% year over year and 0.9% month over month.
  • Building and garden supply stores decreased sales 10.17% year over year and 1.52% month over month.

Upcoming: Retail’s Big Show

Retailers, technology vendors, analysts and others in the field will gather next week for Retail’s Big Show, put on annually by The National Retail Federation (NRF). Each year, the show brings tens of thousands of industry experts together to discuss the hottest topics of the year and share successful strategies. This year, NRF’s Big Show will be held at The Javits Center in New York City from Jan. 14-16.

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