Holiday Sales Review : A Winning Season for Retailers

Posted on January 3, 2018

Heidi Sandstrom

Here we are, the curtain has fallen to reveal the 2017 holiday sales results, and they are extremely positive for North American retailers.

According to Mastercard’s latest SpendingPulse report, released on December 26, retail sales grew up to 4.9 percent this holiday season compared to last year’s same period. The study by Mastercard also revealed which categories benefitted from the highest increase in sales: electronics and appliances had the highest increase of 7.5%. The jewelry category saw an increase of 5.9%, being a great option for last minutes gifts. Home furnishing goods’ spending increased 5.1% this year, which represents the strongest growth of the past 10 years.

According to Sarah Quinlan, Senior Vice President of Market Insights at Mastercard, this year’s big win for retailers is due to many factors including but not limited to: strong economy, new strategies developed by retailers to start engaging shoppers differently, and cleverly placed in-store promotions. Speaking of in-store promotions, early November sales were 18% higher than they were in 2016.

Stock investors apparently foresaw the impressive results as stock prices of certain retailers such as Ralph Lauren (10%) have risen over the past few months. In comparison, global stock prices have only risen 3% in the S&P500.


The 2017 holiday sales season has been an overall success for retailers. It is widely known that some popular and well established retailers had to close their doors earlier this year. However, the last sales sprint of 2017 was an optimistic breeze for retailers who have been able to innovate and react agilely to the industry’s fluctuations over the past few years. Brick-and-mortar stores will continue to have a special place in consumers’ hearts as long as they can continue adapting to modern shoppers’ reality and respond to their consumers’ specific needs. Early fall promotions and advertising attracting door traffic, insight-based strategies, and a good knowledge of consumer behavior/shopping habits will remain retailers’ best allies.

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