Holiday retail bump best since 2005

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American consumers' appetite for holiday shopping was the best this year since 2005, according to a new report from MasterCard's SpendingPulse service. In the 50-day period between November 5 and December 24, non-auto retail spending gained 5.5 percent, as opposed to a 4.1 percent increase from the previous year.

The most notable trend - aside from the general recovery in spending - was the surge in eCommerce spending, which rose 15.4 percent over the period. More and more shoppers are relying on web portals like Amazon ( AMZN ), Rakuten's Buy.com and eBay ( EBAY ) to buygifts and consumer goods.

"If last year's holiday story was about gaining some stability, this year's is about getting back to growth. The 2010 holiday period is categorized by strong year-over-year growth in apparel and continued strength in eCommerce," said Michael McNamara, the vice president for research and analysis at SpendingPulse. "We also saw a noticeable return in spending in the larger ticket items, as exemplified by the solid growth in jewelry, luxury and even the furniture category."

Though unemployment remains high and the housing market is still weak, those with some disposable income seem more inclined to spend it. Slight increases in hiring and the recovery of equity markets appear to have boosted consumer sentiment overall.

Indeed, measures of consumer confidence appear to put it at the highest level in over six months.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Personal Finance , Economy , US Markets

Referenced Stocks: AMZN , EBAY

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