Holiday Spending Grew This Season, Mirroring Pre-Pandemic Habits

Retailers were fearful that inflation would deter consumers from spending money.

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Consumers let loose the purse strings when shopping this holiday season, even with inflation.

According to a Mastercard poll—which tracks in-store and online retail sales—U.S. retail sales increased by 3.1 percent during the holidays, from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24. Spending at restaurants jumped by 7.8 percent, and apparel and grocery shopping grew by 2.4 and 2.1 percent, respectively.

Online shopping saw a boost over in-store purchases, with online sales growing by 6.3 percent and in-person sales increasing by 2.2 percent.

It seems that some of these trends mirrored pre-pandemic shopping.

“Retailers started promotions early this season, giving consumers time to hunt for the best deals and promotions,” Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard said in a press release. “Ultimately it was about getting the most bang for your buck as consumers spent on a variety of goods and services, resurfacing spending trends from before the pandemic.”

Electronics and jewelry didn’t fare as well this year, with consumers spending 0.4 percent less on electronics and 2 percent less on jewelry in contrast to last year.

Regardless, the holiday sales figures are good news for the U.S.'s present and future, implying that the economy is strong.

“What we’re seeing during this holiday season is very consistent with how we’re thinking about the economy, which is that it’s an economy that is still very much expanding,” Michelle Meyer, Mastercard’s chief economist, told the New York Times.

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