Record online sales in the US: Report
NEW YORK: US shoppers spent more online than in retail stores during the shortest winter shopping season in the past six years, with online sales hitting a record high, a report by Mastercard showed.
The holiday season can account for up to 40 per cent of annual sales. This year, Thanksgiving, which traditionally starts the US holiday shopping period, was on Nov 28, a week later than last year's Nov 22, leaving retailers with six fewer days to drive sales between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
"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..." said Mr Steve Sadove, senior adviser for Mastercard.
E-commerce sales this year made up 14.6 per cent of total retail and rose 18.8 per cent, according to Mastercard's data tracking retail sales from Nov 1 through Christmas Eve.
Holiday retail sales, excluding auto, rose 3.4 per cent.
The last shortened shopping season was in 2013, when companies scrambled to get packages to shoppers in time for Christmas. Since then, retailers have invested heavily to provide same-day delivery, lockers for store pick-up and improve their online presence.
"E-commerce sales hit a record high this year with more people doing holiday shopping online," Mr Sadove said.
Sales at department stores fell 1.8 per cent and online sales grew 6.9 per cent, stressing the importance of click-and-collect and online ordering. - REUTERS