As per a report by Mastercard Inc, e-commerce sales saw record highs this shopping season in the United States, with U.S. shoppers preferring online sales to their brick-and-mortar counterpart.
For retailers, the holiday shopping season is a crucial period for which can account for up to 40% of annual sales. This year, Thanksgiving, which traditionally signals the start of the U.S. holiday shopping season, being on November 28, nearly a week later than last year’s November 22, retailers were short by 6 days to drive up sales between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
E-commerce sales in 2019 made up 14.6% of total retail sales and rose by 18.8% from their previous year figures, according to data from Mastercard’s retail sales tracking program.
Excluding automobiles, overall holiday retail sales saw a rise by 3.4%.
“E-commerce sales hit a record high this year with more people doing their holiday shopping online,” said Steve Sadove, senior adviser for Mastercard. “Due to a later than usual Thanksgiving holiday, we saw retailers offering omnichannel sales earlier in the season, meeting consumers’ demand for the best deals across all channels and devices”.
The development comes in the wake of retailers having invested heavily to provide same-day delivery, as well as a locker service to provide store pick-ups. They have also improved their online footprint in their fight against Amazon.com Inc.
Despite a slowdown in the global economy, U.S. consumer spending is benefiting from wage growth and a strong labor market, said analysts and retail consultants.
Amazon’s return policy posed a challenge for many retailers: Amazon has expanded its free return policy to include products that were not previously eligible, including small purchases, giving consumers until January to return purchases bought on its website.