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Retailers See Mostly Happy Holiday Results

Sales averaged above those for 2021 in most categories.

Jane Neal

January 12, 2023

2 Min Read
Natali Dobrovolskaya/Getty Images

If you’ve been out shopping this month, you've seen that retailers are already moving on to the next big holidays with Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and in some cases, even Easter merchandise out on the sales floor. But how did the recent holiday shopping season shape up for those businesses? According to Mastercard SpendingPulse, U.S. retail sales (excluding automotive) increased 7.6% year-over-year during the holiday season, which they measure as running from Nov. 1 through Dec. 24. “This holiday retail season looked different than years past,” says Steve Sadove, senior advisor, Mastercard and former chief executive officer and chairman, Saks Incorporated. “Retailers discounted heavily, but consumers diversified their holiday spending to accommodate rising prices and an appetite for experiences and festive gatherings post-pandemic.” 

Mastercard’s numbers fell right in line with the National Retail Federation’s predictions that 2022 holiday retail sales would grow by 6 to 8%.  

This week, Salesforce released its 2022 holiday shopping recap, analyzing November and December shopping data from more than 1.5 billion shoppers on retail sites using Salesforce Customer 360 (including 24 of the top 30 U.S. online retailers). Salesforce reported November's online sales were lower than in 2021 and 2020. However, Cyber Week deals and Buy Online and Pick Up In Store (BOPIS) offerings helped retailers drive success in 2022. Across the 2022 holiday season, consumers spent a total of $1.14 trillion online globally and $270 billion in the U.S. “Retailers closed out the 2022 holiday season with stronger online sales growth than expected – driven in large part by U.S. demand, steeper discounts on peak days and BOPIS options,” says Rob Garf, vice president and general manager, retail, Salesforce. “Staggering return numbers show that consumers are still cautious amid economic uncertainty, however.” 

Related:HGTV: High-Style Holiday Decor

Mastercard’s preliminary insights found online sales grew 10.6% compared to the same period last year. E-commerce made up 21.6% of total retail sales, up from 20.9% in 2021 and 20.6% in 2020. The channel continues to experience elevated growth as consumers prioritize convenience and availability of discounts. 

In-person spending rose 6.8%, although Mastercard reported department stores only saw an increase of 1% over last year. Clothing was the big winner with a 4.4% increase. Several categories saw loss rather than growth – electronics sales were down 5.3% and jewelry was down 5.4%. And not all retailers had a happy holiday season. According to USA Today, Bed, Bath and Beyond, which has already been talking about filing for bankruptcy, has announced plans to shutter hundreds of stores. Data from Placer.ai found that foot traffic dropped by an average of 3.22% year-over-year for the weeks from Black Friday through the week of Christmas across major retailers, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Nordstrom, Kohl’s and Macy’s. However, for most retailers, the holidays were happy, as Adobe Analytics reported total season revenue of $2.11 billion.  

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About the Author(s)

Jane Neal

Content Editor, License Global

Jane Neal is a Content Editor for License Global. Working remotely in the great state of Wisconsin, Jane specializes in retail and pop-culture trends.

She has worked extensively in the communication field as a managing editor, advertising copywriter, technical writer and journalist. She detoured for several years into academia where she taught journalism, English and humanities at the college level.

A complete Marvel nerd, she enjoys food, films, fishing, friends and family … and alliteration.

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