Fresh research from Mastercard shows that in the second pandemic holiday season, retail sales rose across several areas, including grocery.
For an end-of-year period marked by a resurgent virus, supply chain bottlenecks and inflation worries, retail sales as tracked by credit service company Mastercard wound up higher.
Mastercard’s SpendingPlus index, which measures both in-store and online sales across all payment forms, found that total retail sales (excluding auto and gas) rose 6.9% from December 2020 and were up 8.1% when stacked against December 2019.
Breaking down sales by sector, Mastercard’s data shows that grocery sales were robust as the year closed out, climbing 8.3% from December 2020 and 16.9% compared to two years ago. Categories with the biggest year-over-year gains included apparel, up 46.3%, and luxury items, up 46.8%. Not surprisingly, restaurants rebounded since the first pandemic holiday season of 2020, rising nearly 52%.
In another recently-released report, Mastercard highlighted some noteworthy trends as the new year begins, such as consumers’ growing penchant for buying from retailers that share their values and provide products in a more sustainable and inclusive way. Nearly two-thirds of consumers polled — 62% — said it’s more important that companies “behave in a sustainable and eco-friendly way.” The report also affirmed the importance of “phygital” innovations to shoppers as they buy both in-store and online, and projected that retailers will explore different platforms and tactics over the coming months to reach “hyper-connected” consumers.