Retail sales during the 2020 holiday season jumped unexpectedly to 8.3%, surpassing numbers from 2019. November-December sales results exceeded predictions from the National Retail Federation, which were forecasted between 3.6% and 5.2%.
According to NRF Chief Economist Jake Kleinhenz, consumers shifted into high gear in December, which gave the holiday shopping season a strong finish and added to the continued effort to recovery the economy. The 8.3% increase from 2020 was more than double the 3.5% average holiday increase over the past five years.
“Despite unprecedented challenges, consumers and retailers demonstrated incredible resilience this holiday season. Faced with rising transmission of the virus, state restrictions on retailers and heightened political and economic uncertainty, consumers chose to spend on gifts that lifted the spirits of their families and friends and provided a sense of normalcy given the challenging year,” said Matthew Shay, NRF President and Chief Executive Officer.
Holiday-related spending picked up in the third and fourth weeks of December, when it was too late to expect online deliveries, or gifts were not arriving on time. Along with this, consumers faced the harsh realities of e-commerce during the holiday season, which encouraged them to take advantage of in-store solutions, such as buy online, pick up in-store.
The National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, passionately advocates for the people, brands, policies and ideas that help retail thrive. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., NRF empowers the industry that powers the economy. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, contributing $3.9 trillion to annual GDP and supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 52 million working Americans. For over a century, NRF has been a voice for every retailer and every retail job, educating, inspiring and communicating the powerful impact retail has on local communities and global economies.