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Retailers and shoppers appear happy with holiday sales and purchases – Daily Leader

By on December 31, 2021 0

Whether in-store or online, US retailers have had a great Christmas holiday. The recipients too, it seems.

Stop by the Brookhaven Walmart today and you might notice something odd for a post-holiday atmosphere: There were no queues at the customer service desk, at least on Wednesday. Only one rep was on hand to help those returning at Christmas, but she mostly handled the occasional buyer’s regular returns.

Typically, the larger retailer had set up what looked like an obstacle course for customers returning unwanted or wrong-sized gifts. Not this year. This may be because shoppers were taking more time to make their decisions, shopping early due to shortages, or depending on the supply of more gift cards so that recipients could bill for their own gifts. Or it could be all three.

Whatever the reason, many retailers have found that purchases are on the rise regardless of how you donate. Take Brookhaven’s PJs Coffee on Brookway Boulevard, which has sold “lots, lots” of gift cards this season. A Walmart rep in the retailer’s entertainment section said he saw little returns, but lots of gift card purchases over the holidays.

The Associated Press reported on December 26 that the National Retail Federation said in early December that “vacation sales were on track to beat their already record forecast for an 8.5% to 10.5% increase from the period of last year “.

But this year, the SpendingPulse Mastercard, which measures overall retail sales for all payment types including cash and checks, reported on Sunday that shoppers have been splurging on jewelry and clothing this year, as opposed to to last year’s holiday sales which “rose 8.2% when shoppers, locked in at the start of the pandemic, splurged on pajamas and home goods, mostly online.” “

Even as shoppers faced higher prices and product shortages, holiday sales grew the fastest in 17 years, according to the Mastercard report. Even a new variant of COVID-19 hasn’t slowed sales.

Mastercard SpendingPulse expected an 8.8% increase. The results, which covered from November 1 to December 24, showed that holiday sales increased 10.7% compared to the pre-pandemic 2019 holiday period. By category, clothing increased by 47%, jewelry by 32% and electronics by 16%. Online sales increased 11% from a year ago and 61% from 2019. Department stores registered a 21% increase from 2020.

Many consumers seemed to be turning to online shopping and gift card purchases rather than going to their local stores. However, sales remained strong, said Steve Sadove, senior advisor at Mastercard. “I feel really good about the way the season has gone,” he said.

The National Retail Federation’s mid-January report will provide a broader picture of spending for the season. The initial report from the nation’s largest retail group focused on two-month combined results based on an analysis of the US Department of Commerce’s November and December sales figures. “Analysts will also analyze the fourth quarter financial results of various retailers which are expected to be released in February,” The Associated Press said in an article.

Analysts were expecting a strong holiday season due to the high number of consumers starting their purchases early, amid concerns about shortages. Buyers appeared determined to take advantage of a larger holiday celebration as well, as the pandemic has caused so many to avoid meetings again.

The Mastercard report showed retail sales slowing in November as omicron became the dominant version of COVID-19, forcing consumers to cancel much-desired gatherings during the holiday season. He said buyers boosted US retail sales over Thanksgiving weekend by 14.1% year-over-year and 5.8% from 2019, excluding auto sales. In-store sales have rebounded, the report notes, while e-commerce sales have grown steadily. Clothing, department stores and jewelry were the main drivers of growth.

Holiday sales have grown an average of 4.4% over the past five years, according to the report. For the week ending Dec. 18, store traffic increased nearly 20% from the previous year, but down 23% from the same week in 2019, according to Sensormatic Solutions . Sensormatic noted that shoppers still go to retail stores, but now prefer “outdoor malls and malls more than closed malls.”

However, consumer prices rose 5.7% over the past year, the fastest pace in 39 years, according to the Commerce Department. Almost 30% of all retail sales this year were online, according to the Mastercard report. In 2019, online sales made up only 14.6% of all retail sales. ShipMatrix reported that nearly all packages delivered this year by UPS, FedEx, and the United States Postal Service arrived on time.

Thanksgiving weekend’s “Black Friday” events revealed the biggest spending day of the 2021 holiday season, while in-store sales also rebounded. Auto sales are up 8.5 percent year-over-year this holiday season and online sales are up 11.0 percent from the same period last year.

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