Holiday Retail Sales in the US from 2009 to 2019

US consumers have been spending increasingly more money during the year-end holidays over the past decade. 

According to the latest holiday spending statistics by the National Retail Federation (NRF), which defines the holiday spending period as the months of November and December, holiday season sales from 2009 to 2019 grew at an average 3.48 percent per year.

The biggest of these annual growths came in 2010. At a 5.2 percent increase, it was a significant increase from the 0.2 percent growth from the previous year and indicative of the end of the 2008 recession.

Since then, US holiday season sales have been steadily increasing. In 2019, total holiday retail sales hit $730.2 billion—a $29 billion and 4.1 percent year-over-year increase, the latter of which is nearly double the growth rate of the previous year’s (2.1 percent). 

Sectors Driving 2019’s Holiday Retail Sales Growth

Of the retail sectors that contributed to 2019’s holiday season sales growth, the biggest increase came from ecommerce stores and other non-store sales, whose combined sales grew by 14.6 percent from the previous year to $167.8 billion.

This is followed by sales from grocery and beverage stores and furniture and home furnishing stores, which increased by 2.9 percent and 2.6 percent respectively.

Such notable growth in ecommerce holiday spending should come as no surprise, considering that the internet was consumers’ top shopping destination in 2019. In fact, 56 percent of US consumers surveyed just before the holiday season had said they planned to do their holiday shopping online. 

Department stores and discount stores follow behind closely at 53 percent and 51 percent respectively. 

Holiday Spending Statistics on Purchasing Plans

Holiday spending statistics also show an increase in how much consumers intend to spend on the holiday season. 

Aside from a slight dip in 2016, planned holiday spending per consumer has increased every year since 2009. In fact, this number hit $1,047.83 in 2019. That’s $783.20 more than 2009, which marks a 33.8 percent increase in just ten years.

Holiday spending statistics also show that the majority of consumers’ expenditures are spent on gifts. In 2019, consumers had planned on dedicating an average of $658.55 to gifts, which is nearly two-thirds (62.8 percent) of their planned total holiday expenditure. The rest will go to other purchases, such as food and holiday decorations.

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