Despite a spate of recent negative news about store closings and weak sales among department stores, the holidays were quite happy for many retailers. Consumers opened their wallets in stores and online to drive an overall increase of 3.6 percent, according to First Data's Holiday 2016 SpendTrend report.
Whether using a PC, tablet or mobile device, Americans continued the recent trend of making their holiday purchases online as retail e-commerce transactions grew by 12%. Additionally, more than one fifth (21.3%) of all holiday spending was conducted online, a substantial increase from 15.4% last year.
“Consumers were actively spending this holiday season with overall growth up 4.7%. However, retail stores had mixed results, with some categories posting high growth rates while others lagged behind,” said Rishi Chhabra, VP, Information & Analytics at First Data. “We continue to see a strong shift to online shopping and were impressed with the significant growth in eCommerce transactions. More and more, shoppers are opting to stay home to avoid the crowds and make purchases on their own time.”
Retail spending increased 3.6% year-over-year, but department stores and clothing and accessories retailers took a hit. Department stores, in particular, were down 4.8% overall while clothing and accessories saw modest growth of 0.1%. Women’s ready-to-wear retailers saw a decline of 3.7% in year-over-year growth. Electronics and appliances, on the other hand, saw significant growth this year, up 8.5% overall compared to being down 2.2% during the holidays last year.
Although e-commerce spending surged this year, retail brick and mortar growth was also up slightly, posting 1.6% year-over-year growth. That growth rate was primarily driven by spending in the West and Midwest regions of the United States. The Southwest experienced a decline in growth rates as it was down 0.6% in retail spend.