December 28, 2010, 11:32 AM

Consumers spend more this holiday season, thanks in large part to e-commerce

MasterCard reports a 15.4% increase for online spending and 5.5% growth in retail sales overall.

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E-commerce sales helped fuel a holiday shopping season in which consumers spent 5.5% than they did last year, according to MasterCard Advisors, the consulting arm of the payment card network.

MasterCard bases the SpendingPulse figures on retail sales using all payment forms, including credit and debit cards of all brands, cash and checks. For the latest report, MasterCard defines the holiday season as running from Nov. 5 to Dec. 24. Overall retail spending does not include automobile sales, but does include restaurant and other food service receipts.

E-commerce spending for this year’s holiday season increased 15.4% from last year, MasterCard says. The payment card network did not provide sales figures in dollars, but late last week said e-commerce sales between Oct. 31 to Dec. 23 totaled $36.4 billion this year, up 15.5% from $31.5 billion a year ago.

Online apparel sales were especially strong this holiday season, MasterCard says. Late last week, the payment card network said year-over-year growth for apparel was 25.7%, and that apparel sales accounted for almost 19% of all online sales this year.

“The 2010 holiday period is categorized by strong year-over-year growth in apparel and continued strength in e-commerce,” sums up Michael McNamara, SpendingPulse’s vice president for research and analysis. Overall, consumers also spent more this year for jewelry and luxury goods, he adds.

Overall sales of jewelry and luxury goods increased 8.4% this holiday season compared with last year.


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