Jewelry sales in the United States appeared to advance considerably ahead of other holiday season purchases, according to according to Mastercard SpendingPulse, which reported that during the critical first four days of this year’s season they rose by 78 percent, when compared to the corresponding period in 2020.
That is even higher than what SpendingPulse had predicted two months earlier, when it forecast a 50 percent rise in jump in jewelry sales and a 52.9 percent rise from the pre-pandemic season in 2019.
The extraordinary start to the holiday reflected a trend that has been apparent for several months already. In August, jewelry sales increased by 73.9 percent over the equivalent month in 2020 and 58.9 percent over August 2019, before the pandemic begun. In July, jewelry sales were 83 percent higher than in July 2020 and 54 more than during the same month in 2019.
Speaking to JCK Online, Mastercard spokesperson Alexandria Brown said that luxury retail and jewelry sectors experienced some of the strongest growth over 2020 and 2019. “[That] is expected to continue this holiday,” Brown she stated.
SHOPPERS BEGAN EARLY IN 2021
Nearly 180 million Americans shopped during the five-day holiday shopping period from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, according to the annual survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.
In total, 179.8 million unique shoppers made in-store and online purchases during the holiday weekend, exceeding NRF’s initial expectations by over 21 million. The figure was actually slightly down on the 186.4 million shoppers in 2020 and is in line with the average of the last four years.
In the opinion of said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay, the slight drop-off in sales was largely a question of timing. “Retailers have adapted and enticed customers with a number of incentives throughout November. The Thanksgiving holiday weekend remains a significant time for friends and families to check specific holiday items off their lists. Over the last few years consumers have shifted their holiday shopping plans to start earlier in the season, he said.
The figures appeared to confirm what the NRF President said. As retailers continue to extend deals and other offers into October and early November, 49 percent of shoppers said they took advantage of early holiday sales or promotions before Thanksgiving this year.
With a longer holiday shopping season, the vast majority, or 84 percent, of holiday shoppers reported they have already started shopping and have completed more than half of their holiday purchases on average.
SHIFT BACK TO BRICK AND MORTAR
The number of people who shopped in American stores increased this year. Retailers saw an increase in foot traffic, with approximately 104.9 million shoppers visiting stores, up from 92.3 million in 2020. Surprisingly, according to NRF data, the overall number of online shoppers decreased to a total of 127.8 million from 145.4 million last year.
Black Friday remained the most popular day for in-store shopping, with 66.5 million shoppers, followed by 51 million shoppers on Small Business Saturday. Similar to recent years, Black Friday surpassed Cyber Monday in terms of total online shoppers, with 88 million shopping online the Friday after Thanksgiving compared with 77 million on Monday.
“Over the last few years, Black Friday has emerged as a powerhouse day for both in-store and online shopping,” Prosper Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. “Even though many consumers are starting their holiday shopping before Thanksgiving, a considerable portion of their purchases are still made over the course of the five-day weekend.”
Thanksgiving weekend shoppers spent an average of $301.27 on holiday-related purchases. This is down slightly from $311.75 in 2020. As in previous years, most of that amount was spent directly on gifts.
NRF defines the holiday season as November 1 through December 31 and has forecast that sales will grow between 8.5 percent and 10.5 percent over 2020 to between $843.4 billion and $859 billion. According to NRF’s annual survey released in October, consumers plan to spend $997.73 on gifts, holiday items and other non-gift purchases for themselves and their families this year.