Mastercard SpendingPulse: U.S. retail sales saw strong growth in December, capping a robust holiday shopping season

January 6, 2022

Retail trends continue to reflect evolving consumer preferences and demand for personalized experiences

Retail sales in December closed out the year on a high note, according to Mastercard SpendingPulseTM, which measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment. This follows a robust holiday season, where retail sales grew 8.5% excluding auto. 

As we kick-off 2022, there are a number of trends to watch that build on December momentum—including new ways people are shopping and paying and innovative strategies for how retailers are reaching consumers and providing different experiences for them. As detailed in a new Mastercard report, these trends include:

  • Buying with a Purpose: Consumers are looking for retailers that share their values, creating and delivering products in a sustainable and inclusive way. Across the world, 85% of adults say they’re willing to take personal action to combat environmental and sustainability challenges. And 62% say it’s now more important that companies behave in sustainable and eco-friendly way.
  • Commerce “E-volution”: Retailers and brands spent much of the pandemic shifting or expanding their digital channels, which we see reflected in the SpendingPulse figures as online sales continued to experience strong growth in December (+13.5% YOY/ +60.4% YO2Y). In 2022, innovation will be amplified with retailers looking at different platforms and tactics to reach hyper-connected consumers.
  • Experiential Retail: Innovation has been vital as retailers started to think of their digital and physical stores more cohesively than distinctly separate channels. This trend brought us “phygital” innovation in how retailers engage with customers digitally and in person. We expect the ability to make purchases “how I want” will continue, requiring retailers to offer hybrid models, according to a Mastercard consumer impact study.
  • Consumer Privacy Gets Real: The demand for personalized experience must be met by a heightened focus on consumer privacy. Retailers will need to find new ways to understand and engage their digital consumers effectively.

Media Contacts

Alexandria Brown, Mastercard

About Mastercard SpendingPulse

Mastercard SpendingPulse reports on national retail sales across all payment types in select markets around the world. The findings are based on aggregate sales activity in the Mastercard payments network, coupled with survey-based estimates for certain other payment forms, such as cash and check. 

Mastercard SpendingPulse defines “U.S. retail sales” as sales at retailers and food services merchants of all sizes. Sales activity within the services sector (for example, travel services such as airlines and lodging) are not included. Holiday spending insights are preliminary. 

About Mastercard (NYSE: MA)

Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.