Online sales set new US record
US shoppers spent more online during this year's holiday season, a report by Mastercard shows, with their e-commerce sales hitting a record high.
The Christmas shopping season is a crucial period for retailers and can account for up to 40pc of their annual sales.
But this year, Thanksgiving, which traditionally starts the US holiday shopping period, was on November 28, nearly a week later than last year's November 22, leaving retailers with six fewer days to drive sales between then and Christmas.
E-commerce sales this year made up 14.6pc of total retail business and rose 18.8pc from the 2018 period, according to Mastercard's data tracking retail sales from November 1 through to Christmas Eve.
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Overall, holiday retail sales, excluding cars, rose 3.4pc.
"E-commerce sales hit a record high this year, with more people doing their holiday shopping online," said Steve Sadove, senior adviser for Mastercard.
"Due to a later-than-usual Thanksgiving holiday, we saw retailers offering omnichannel sales earlier in the season, meeting consumers' demand for the best deals across all channels and devices," Mr Sadove said.
Retailers have invested heavily to provide same-day delivery, lockers for store pick-up, and to improve their online presence, as they battle against web giant Amazon for market share.
US President Donald Trump welcomed the retail data in a tweet.