Retail spending growth in November and December of 2016 was the strongest it’s been in five years. According to the Visa Retail Spending Monitor, which tracks U.S. consumer spending on Visa payment products, retaili sales grew by 4.8 percent through the holiday season, as compared to the same period in 2015.
More and more consumers turned to their mobile phones and computers to do their holiday shopping. According to VisaNet, one of the world’s most advanced processing networks, e-commerce spending this past holiday season experienced 19 percent growth—up from 14 percent in 2015. This data is in line with Visa’s October forecast, which anticipated that online shopping would increase by at least 18 percent year-over-year.
What’s enabling that growth? Greater U.S. consumer confidence,ii for one, thanks to strong job and wage growth during the holiday months. December’s 2.9 percent was fastest year-over-year wage growth seen in nearly eight years and, in November, more than 200,000 jobs were created—demonstrating a strong labor market.iii
Online retailers shared a larger portion of the holiday spend in 2016. E-commerce represented a 24 percent share of holiday retail spend in 2016, up from 21 percent in 2015. E-commerce share of total spend also increased 3 percent from 2015. E-commerce is also becoming increasingly important early in the holiday season, as consumers rely on pre-holiday shipping promises. In November 2016, more than 25 percent of holiday retail was e-commerce, up from almost 22 percent in 2015.
While e-commerce helped fuel all the peak shopping days during the holiday season, Cyber Monday was still the largest e-commerce shopping day of the season. Spending on a mobile device continues to gain in popularity, and is expected to continue to rise in the coming years.
All data used in the statements above are sourced from VisaNet or Visa’s Retail Spending Monitor unless noted otherwise.