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Dive Brief:

  • Mastercard’s SpendingPulse report predicts that consumers will spend 7.1% more during this upcoming U.S. holiday season, excluding automotive sales, compared to the 2021 yearend period last year, according to a Monday announcement. The card network company charts the holiday season from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24.
  • The September report predicts that consumers will spend 4.2% more via e-commerce and 7.9% more in stores compared to last year. It also anticipates consumers spending 4.6% more on clothing, 4.4% more on luxury items, excluding jewelry, 3.5% more on electronics and 2.2% more on jewelry compared to 2021.
  • In August alone, consumers spent 10.8% more on retail sales, excluding automotive and gas sales, compared to last August. In-store spending increased by 12.3% in August relative to that month last year, and e-commerce spending increased 8.9% year-over-year for the month, according to the SpendingPulse report.

Dive Insight:

Overall, the card company expects spending to rise over 2019 pre-pandemic levels this holiday season, despite the uncertain economic environment, including inflation and higher interest rates. Indeed, Mastercard expects total retail sales, excluding auto, to jump 18.8% over the 2019 period. That’s a trend that’s been picking up this year.

Spending on services has also climbed compared to pre-pandemic levels, a report from RBC Capital Markets regarding the Mastercard data noted. Restaurant spending in August got a 14.8% bump year over year and logged a 43.7% increase compared to August 2019, according to Mastercard. Meanwhile, lodging increased 38.4% year over year and 40.5% from August 2019, the card company said.

Drawing from Mastercard’s report data, analysts at RBC Capital Markets noted airline spending has not yet recovered to 2019 levels, but it has risen sharply year over year. While airline spending in August was down 3.5% compared to August 2019, it jumped 48.3% for the month from August 2021, per Mastercard’s Spending Pulse report. 

For some companies, the rebound in travel has boosted revenue. According to a first-quarter earnings report from American Express, the card issuer’s revenue, excluding interest, increased by 29% to $11.7 billion, which the card issuer attributed to the rise in business and leisure travel. 

Mastercard’s previous research indicates that inflation has driven an increase in consumer spending, a trend that its September report anticipates will continue during the holiday shopping season. Mastercard’s August SpendingPulse report for July said consumers’ retail spending, excluding gas and automotive sales, jumped 9% from July 2021, an increase attributed to rising prices for consumer goods and services.

In its latest report, Mastercard said it anticipates that shoppers will want discounts this holiday season to combat rising inflation.

“This holiday season, consumers may find themselves looking for ways to navigate the inflationary environment – from searching for deals to making trade-offs that allow for extra room in their gift-giving budgets,” Michelle Meyer, U.S. chief economist at the Mastercard Economics Institute, said in a statement. “New job creation, rising wages and lingering savings should have many consumers ready and able to spend.”

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