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US 2017 Holiday Retail Recap: Season Exceeds Expectations

Executive Summary

In this report, we take stock of the 2017 holiday season in the US, providing an overview of retail sales, category winners and returns. We also look at the drivers of this holiday season’s sales growth, including macroeconomic conditions, weather and a favorable calendar effect.

  • Overall holiday retail sales growth exceeded industry estimates of 3%–4%, reaching 4.9% year over year, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse.
  • Online holiday retail sales grew by 18.1% year over year, outpacing overall retail sales growth, and Cyber Monday 2017 was the biggest e-commerce day in history in the US.
  • The electronics and appliances category saw the highest year-over-year growth over the holiday season, with sales rising by 7.5%. Sales in both the home furnishings and home improvement categories grew by a strong 5.1%. Specialty apparel and department stores saw moderate gains.
  • Technology products accounted for 22% of holiday retail sales in 2016 (latest available). In 2017, the iPhone was the best-selling tech product, with more than 233 million units sold.
  • Positive macroeconomic conditions, cold and dry weather, and a favorable holiday calendar all contributed to retail sales growth this holiday season.

Click here to read Coresight’s coverage on US holiday retail and gain key retail insights for 2019 and prior years.

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