Mastercard SpendingPulse: U.S. Retail Sales* Grew 3.0% This Holiday Season

Mastercard SpendingPulse: Top 10 U.S. Holiday Shopping Days by Spend (Graphic: Business Wire)

PURCHASE, N.Y.--()--According to Mastercard SpendingPulse™, holiday retail sales excluding automotive and gasoline increased 3.0% this expanded holiday season, running from October 11 through December 24. Notably, online sales grew 49.0% compared to 2019, the preliminary insights show. Mastercard SpendingPulse measures overall retail spending trends across all payment types, including cash and check.


Traditional Holiday Period
November 1-December 24
Year-Over-Year Sales Growth

75 Days of Christmas
October 11-December 24
Year-Over-Year Sales Growth

Total retail (ex. auto and gas)



Total retail (ex. auto)



E-commerce sales



Source: Mastercard SpendingPulse measures overall retail sales across all payment types, including cash and check.

“American consumers turned the holiday season on its head, redefining ‘home for the holidays’ in a uniquely 2020 way. They shopped from home for the home, leading to record e-commerce growth,” said Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former CEO and Chairman of Saks Incorporated. “And, consumers shopped earlier than ever before. Across our expanded 75-day holiday shopping season, sales were up 3.0%, a testament to the holiday season and strength of retailers and consumers alike.”

Key findings from Mastercard SpendingPulse underscore the shift to online spending, with e-commerce accounting for 19.7% of overall retail sales – up from approximately 13.4% in 2019. In addition, consumers continue to spend more time – and money – on their homes.

  • Home furniture and furnishings experienced the strongest growth of any sector compared to 2019, up 16.2%, and it grew 31.0% online specifically. In addition, home improvement was up 14.1%, with e-commerce sales up 79.7%.
  • Meanwhile, apparel experienced a decline of 19.1% year over year, while electronics and appliances were up 6.0% overall.
  • Department stores saw overall sales decline of 10.2% and online sales growth of 3.3%, reinforcing the importance of omnichannel offerings. Buy online, pick up in store as well as technologies like contactless were key for retailers this season.

Mastercard SpendingPulse™: Sector Snapshot
Expanded Holiday Season: October 11 – December 24


Total YOY Retail Sales Growth

YOY E-Commerce Sales Growth




Department Stores



Electronics & Appliances


Furniture & Furnishings





Home Improvement






Luxury (ex. Jewelry)


Source: Mastercard SpendingPulse measures overall retail sales across all payment types, including cash and check.

This season, U.S. consumers shopped far earlier than in years past, as retailers offered special promotions early and often. In addition, though Black Friday was down (-16.1%*), Thanksgiving weekend through Cyber Monday remained a key time for shoppers, with Black Friday being the top spending day of the 2020 holiday season.

*Total Retail Sales excluding automotive and gasoline sales

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 check.

Mastercard SpendingPulse defines “U.S. retail sales” as sales at retailers and food services merchants of all sizes. Sales activity within the services sector (for example, travel services such as airlines and lodging) are not included. Holiday spending insights are preliminary.

About Mastercard

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. Our decency quotient, or DQ, drives our culture and everything we do inside and outside of our company. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.


Will Tsang
(914) 414-5420

Julia Monti
(914) 217-9533

Release Summary

According to Mastercard SpendingPulse, holiday retail sales excl. auto and gas increased 3.0% this expanded holiday season (October 11-December 24).


Will Tsang
(914) 414-5420

Julia Monti
(914) 217-9533