How much did we spend on holiday shopping this year? You’d think it was 2007 – or sooner. The official 2010 numbers are in: consumers spent more than ever before this holiday season, with revenue reaching $584.3 billion, — the highest since 2007’s $566.3 billion. Numbers like this have already gotten many media sources to speculate the recession is over.
MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse revealed that apparel sales shot up 11.2%, jewelry saw an 8.4% increase, and luxury good purchases rose by 6.7%. Surprising standouts included men’s clothing, whose sales increased 11% in comparison with womenswear’s [seemingly measly] 5.6%. Electronics and furniture revenue perked up a bit after last year’s decrease.
“For the past year or two, when I’ve seen growth in one area, it seems to come at the expense of another. Here, things are actually all moving in the right direction,” said SpendingPulse VP, Michael McNamara. “If last year’s holiday story was about gaining some stability, this year’s is about getting back to growth.”
Despite consistent unemployment rates and lack of blow-out discounts this holiday season, what could have accounted for the unusually high numbers? McNamara explained, “There was a good match between inventory and demand.” Sure, but the number of people still unemployed may still put a damper on the spending craze into 2011.