Excluding the auto sector, holiday retail sales increased by 3.4%, according to Mastercard's SpendingPulse "Holiday E-Commerce Report." E-commerce sales rose by 18.8% during the 2019 holiday season, up from the 18.4% growth rate of 2018, the report found.
According to the research, 15.4% of overall retail spend occurred during Black Friday, and 24.5% of overall retail purchases occurred on Cyber Monday. Department stores experienced an overall 1.8% drop in sales and a 6.9% increase in online sales. The Mastercard report examines holiday sales that took place between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24.
Specialty apparel e-commerce sales increased by 17% year over year, followed by a 10.7% increase in online electronics sales and 8.8% growth in e-commerce sales of jewelry, per the report.
Mastercard's research reinforces the importance of retailers' omnichannel strategies. It's worth noting that Cyber Monday was lucrative for Amazon, although the retailer did not release exact figures detailing how its "single biggest shopping day in the company's history" compared to previous years.
But Amazon isn't the only retailer cashing in on online sales. A December Bloomreach report also found that mobile sales were up 17% and mobile visits increased by 16% year over year. Meanwhile, the National Retail Federation found that 189.6 million U.S. shoppers went to stores and retail websites during the five-day shopping weekend from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, a 14% bump from 2018. In all, e-commerce took 14.6% of holiday spending, Mastercard found.
To make up for the shorter shopping season, retailers prepared by equipping staffers and offering promotions earlier.
"E-commerce sales hit a record high this year with more people doing their holiday shopping online," Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard, said in a company statement. "Due to a later than usual Thanksgiving holiday, we saw retailers offering omnichannel sales earlier in the season, meeting consumers' demand for the best deals across all channels and devices."