Holiday sales up 2.3 percent, online Christmas spending soars

Dec. 26, 2013 at 7:51 PM
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NEW YORK, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- U.S. sales of apparel, electronics and jewelry rose 2.3 percent during the holidays, with overall sales up 3.5 percent, MasterCard SpendingPulse said.

The Nov. 1 to Dec. 24 shopping period showed an improvement from 2012 -- thanks to deep discounting at malls -- and finished close to expectations of sales analysts.

IBM Digital Analytics said the brightest spot was online sales, which surged 16.5 percent year-over-year.

"One clear bright spot is that many consumers who were stuck indoors turned to online shopping to check items off their list," said Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president of market insights for MasterCard Advisors in a statement.

Online retailer, based in Seattle, said in a release Thursday more than half of its customers shopped using a mobile device this holiday season. The company said it sold 36.8 million items -- an average of 426 items per second -- on Cyber Monday, the Monday following Thanksgiving.

Jewelry sales were a top category for holiday shoppers, who had six fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, and bad weather on two consecutive weekends.

Electronics were a big seller online, with mobile devices responsible for 48 percent of all online sales placed. Smartphone users spent an average $85.11 per order and tablet computer users spent an average $98.61 per order.

Popular purchases included Kindle Fire tablets, HD televisions and low-to-mid priced laptop computers.

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