NEW YORK –
US holiday sales rose this year, a sign that consumer spending remains strong, despite rising prices for everything from food to pensions, according to one indicator.
Christmas sales were 7.6% compared to 8.5% last year, as people began spending what they had saved during the first part of the pandemic, according to Mastercard Spending Pulse, which tracks all types of purchases, including with cash and credit cards.
Mastercard Spending Pulse predicts an increase of 7.1%. The figures released Monday exclude the auto industry and are not adjusted for inflation, which remains slightly subdued but high.
Sales in the United States between the month of November and December 4th, a critical period for retailers, clothing and restaurants are boosted.
By category, clothing purchases are up 4.4%, while jewelry and electronics are down 5%. Sales increased 10.6% over the previous year and in-person sales increased by 6.8%. Retailers posted a modest 1% increase over 2021.
“This season, sales have looked a little different than in years past,” Steve Sadove, former president of Saks and CEO and founder of Mastercard, said in a statement. “Not only have chains cut their prices sharply, but consumers have changed their spending habits to accommodate higher prices and reflect a greater appetite for post-pandemic holiday experiences and collections.”
Part of the increase reflects higher prices across all items.
Consumer spending makes up nearly 70% of economic activity in the United States, and Americans have remained soft with inflation at nearly double-digits for the past 18 months.