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Online Holiday Sales Grew Nearly 50% in 2020

Holiday shopping
Online Holiday Sales Grew Nearly 50% in 2020

Given the pandemic, it’s not a surprise that holiday shoppers shifted to online shopping in 2020. Last year, ecommerce accounted for 13% of overall retail sales during the November 1 – December 24 holiday shopping time period. That number rose to 20% this year, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse.

That’s huge; in fact, online sales in November and December grew 47% over last year.

Mastercard’s study also found the holiday shopping kicked off earlier than ever before – in mid-October, and it found online sales grew 49% between October 11 – December 24 compared to the same period in 2019. Mastercard found that was in part to retailers offering special promotions “early and often.”

Senior advisor to Mastercard Steve Sadove said, “American consumers turned the holiday season on its head, redefining ‘home for the holidays’ in a uniquely 2020 way.” The former CEO of Saks Incorporated said consumers shopped from home for the home, leading to record ecommerce growth.

According to Mastercard SpendingPulse data, home furniture and furnishings experienced the strongest growth of any sector compared to 2019, up 16%, and it grew 31% online specifically. In addition, home improvement was up 14%, with ecommerce sales up 79.7%. (To think there was a time when buying furniture and home-improvement products online seemed outlandish!)

The downside – sellers worry the growth in online shopping will also lead to an increase in returns.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.