Frenzied Shopping Season, Record Hangover

And what happens to the returned goods?
It was, by all accounts, an exciting shopping season, particularly for e-commerce. I figured that out very quickly when things we’d ordered in early December took days longer than normal to arrive. The tracking info showed various issues, including packages getting hung up for days in some warehouse, apparently waiting for the next available spot on a truck.
So here’s the frenzied party.
Now we got the first set of numbers. Mastercard SpendingPulse reported that holiday shopping – not including automotive – from November 1 through December 24 across all payment types, including cash and check, rose 4.9% from the same period a year ago, the largest year-over-year increase since 2011. Folks spent over $800 billion this shopping season, the most ever.
Online sales soared a breath-taking 18.1% year-over-year, ‘boosted by a late season rally,’ the report said. It ate the lion’s share of the increase.
‘Overall, this year was a big win for retail,’ the report said, which based the results on data from the Mastercard payment network and survey-based estimates for other payment types. A special credit went to those retailers ‘who tried new strategies to engage holiday shoppers.’

This post was published at Wolf Street on Dec 26, 2017.