Americans are getting more comfortable with shopping online from home or from their workstations — compared to putting up with crowds at stores and malls. During this year’s peak holiday shopping season (Black Friday through Christmas Eve), overall spending jumped 7.9 percent, according to the MasterCard SpendingPulse report.
While sales at brick-and-mortar stores still account for most of holiday spending, the shift toward online shopping is gaining ground. Online purchases surged 20 percent, MasterCard reports.
In a separate study, MasterCard reports that 70 percent of U.S. consumers said they are doing more research online than before.
The biggest winners this season were sellers of furniture, who saw double-digit growth in sales, while electronics and men’s apparel lagged well behind.
Overall, apparel saw high single-digit growth during the Black Friday to Christmas Eve timetable. Women’s apparel sales rose double-digits. Meanwhile, men’s apparel declined. The delayed cold weather seems to have pushed back apparel buying this fall.
“We saw some very promising trends,” said Sarah Quinlan, SVP, Market Insights for MasterCard Advisors. “The double-digit growth in furniture sales, for instance, shows that consumers are willing and able to splurge on big ticket items. eCommerce’s rise is a solid indication of an empowered and savvy shopper. We’ll be watching to see if this behavior continues into 2016.”
MasterCard said its findings confirm that consumers are spending much of the money saved from lower gas prices this year.