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 (
), Rakuten's Buy.com and 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
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.