U.S. year-end holiday retail sales rose 4.9% compared to the same period last year—the fastest pace of growth since 2011, and a welcome gift to U.S. retailers amid new signs of consumer confidence.
Online shopping also saw large gains of 18.1% compared to 2016, boosted by a late season rally. Mastercard’s SpendingPulse report details holiday shopping trends from November 1 through December 24 and covers retail sales across all payment types, including cash and check.
Key findings of the Mastercard SpendingPulse report include:
• This was a winning holiday season for retail overall, though the story was different category by category.
• For many shoppers, there was no place like home this holiday season. Electronics and appliances increased 7.5 percent, the strongest growth of the last 10 years. The home furniture and furnishings category grew 5.1%, as did home improvement.
• Specialty apparel and department stores, which both traditionally see the bulk of sales happen in-store, saw moderate gains. This is particularly impressive given recent store closings.
• Retailers’ heavy early-season promotions paid off, with the first three weeks of November seeing significant jumps.
• In addition, shoppers were still spending late into the season, with December 23rd next to Black Friday in terms of single-day spending. This was a boon to certain categories, including jewelry. Jewelry grew 5.9%, largely driven by last-minute sales.
“Evolving consumer preferences continue to play out in the aisles and online sites of retailers across the U.S.,” said Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president of Market Insights, Mastercard. “Overall, this year was a big win for retail. The strong U.S. economy was a contributing factor, but we also have to recognize that retailers who tried new strategies to engage holiday shoppers were the beneficiaries of this sales increase.”
The Amazon Factor
E-commerce is a big contributor to those results, and a big part of the online holiday increase is due specifically to Amazon, which is hailing this holiday season as its biggest ever, with more than four million new customers trialing Amazon Prime in a single week.
Third-party sellers, small businesses and entrepreneurs had a record-breaking season with more than one billion items ordered worldwide—including nearly 140 million over just five days, from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. More details from its press releases:
Amazon Devices also had its best holiday yet, with tens of millions of Alexa-enabled devices sold worldwide. Echo Dot and Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote were not only the top-selling Amazon devices this holiday season, but they were also the best-selling products from any manufacturer in any category across all of Amazon.
“Since Day One we have obsessed over what we believe our customers care about—incredible deals and low prices, fast and free shipping, and a wide selection of top products—and we continue to provide all three, all the time. We’re excited that people continued to join Prime this holiday, to take advantage of more fast and free shipping options plus new convenient delivery like Amazon Key, as well as early access to Lightning Deals and unlimited streaming of TV shows and movies, including Prime Originals and more,” stated Jeff Wilke, CEO Worldwide Consumer.
Holiday Bestsellers — Global
• The best-selling toy and game item worldwide was What Do You Meme? Adult Party Game.
• The best-selling beauty item worldwide was the Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean Rechargeable Toothbrush.
• The best-selling health and personal care item worldwide was the AncestryDNA: Genetic Testing – DNA Ancestry Test Kit.
Holiday Best Sellers — U.S.
• Prime members shopped more than 100,000 Lightning Deals on Amazon.com with Prime Early Access. Customers shopped hundreds of Deals of the Day on Amazon.com throughout the holiday season. Millions of customers in the U.S. watched deals with Watch a Deal.
• Whole Foods Market sold over 500,000 pounds of sweet treats at the cookie bars featured in stores across the U.S. – that’s enough to feed Santa more than 6 million cookies throughout his trip around the world on Christmas Eve.
• Across Amazon Books’ 13 bookstores, the top-selling nonfiction book was Obama: An Intimate Portrait by former White House photographer Pete Souza; the top-selling fiction book was Origin by Dan Brown; the top-selling kids book was Diary of a Wimpy Kid #12, The Getaway by Jeff Kinney; and, the top selling poetry book was the sun and her flowers by Rumi Kaur.
• Across Amazon Books’ 13 bookstores, one out of seven customers who purchased a book also donated a children’s book to local charities supporting children in need. The top-selling book given to local charities was the classic, Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman; it was also the top-selling book across all 13 stores.
• The Echo Dot was the top-selling device across Amazon Books’ 13 stores; the Kindle Paperwhite was the best-selling Kindle; the TP-Link Smart Plug was the best-selling accessory; and WowWee Fingerlings were the top selling toy.
• The best-selling kitchen item in the U.S. and worldwide was the Instant Pot DUO80.
• The best-selling toy and game item in the U.S. was the Nerf N-Strike Elite Strongarm Blaster, while the best-selling toy and game item worldwide was What Do You Meme? Adult Party Game.
• The best-selling smart home product in the U.S. and worldwide was the TP-Link Smart Plug.
• The best-selling beauty and grooming items in the U.S. included the Finishing Touch Flawless Women’s Painless Hair Remover, the Philips Norelco Multigroom All-In-One Series 3000 and the Oral-B Black Pro 1000 Power Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush, while the best-selling item worldwide was the Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean Rechargeable Toothbrush.
• The best-selling home, health and personal care products in the U.S. this holiday season include Fitbit Charge 2, the 23andMe DNA Test, the AncestryDNA: Genetic Testing – DNA Ancestry Test Kit and Radha Beauty Aromatherapy Top 8 Essential Oils.
• Robot vacuums were among the best-selling home items on Amazon.com over the holiday season.
• The best-selling products from Amazon Launchpad businesses included WowWee Fingerlings Interactive Baby Monkey, Exploding Kittens Card Game, and Watch Ya Mouth Throwdown Edition Card Game.
• The best-selling sports items in the U.S. this season included Titleist Pro V1 Golf Balls, Wilson NFL MVP Junior Football and Spalding NBA Street Basketball.
• The best-selling fashion items in the U.S. this holiday season include ASICS Men’s GEL Venture 5 Running Shoe, Alex and Ani Initial Expandable Wire Bangle Bracelet, 2.5″, Levi’s Men’s 505 Regular Fit Jean, UGG Women’s Classic Short II Boot.
• The best-selling products from AmazonFresh in the U.S. this holiday season, were organic bananas, limes, cucumbers, navel oranges, yellow onions.
• The best-selling furniture products in the U.S. included the Zinus Memory Foam 12 Inch Green Tea Mattress, the LinenSpa 8″ Memory Foam and Innerspring Hybrid Mattress and the LINENSPA 6 Inch Innerspring Mattress.
• The best-selling automotive products in the U.S. included the Dark Seasonal Snow & Ice Car Scraper, the NOCO Genius Boost Plus GB40 1000 Amp 12V UltraSafe Lithium Jump Starter and the STANLEY J5C09 Jump Starter.
• The best-selling pet products in the U.S. included the PEDIGREE DENTASTIX Holiday Treats for Dogs, the KONG Wild Knots Bears Durable Dog Toys and the Taste of the Wild, Canine Formula.
• The best-selling baby products in the U.S. include the Nuby Ice Gel Teether Keys, Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes Musical Toy and the Nuby Bundle of 3 Toys, which was also the best-selling baby product worldwide.
• The best-selling luxury beauty item in the U.S. was the Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe Herbs and Rosewater, stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner and Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water, Cleansing and Make-Up Removing Solution.
• The best-selling grocery item in the U.S. was Green Mountain Coffee Keurig Coffee Lover’s Variety Pack Single-Serve K-Cup Sampler, 40 Count, the Glaceau Smartwater Vapor Distilled Water, and Viva Naturals Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil.
• The best-selling tools include the Black + Decker LDX 120C 20-Volt MAX Lithium-Ion Cordless Drill/Driver and the MagnoGrip 311-090 Magnetic Wristband.
• The best-selling wireless products in the U.S. include Tile Mate – Key Finder. Phone Finder, PopSockets: Expanding Stand and Grip for Smartphones and Tablets and Wemo Mini Smart Plug.
• The best-selling major appliances in the U.S. include Samsung MS11K3000AS 1.1 cu. ft. Countertop Microwave Oven, the Danby 120 Can Beverage Center and the NewAir AB-1200 126-Can Beverage Cooler.
• The best-selling musical instruments on Amazon.com were the Snark SN5X Clip-On Tuner for Guitar, Singing Machine SML385BTW Top Loading CDG Karaoke System with Bluetooth, Sound and Disco Light Show, and the Singing Machine SMM-205 Unidirectional Dynamic Microphone.
• The best-selling outdoor items in the U.S. were Intex Comfort Plush Elevated Dura-Beam Airbed with Built-in Electric Pump, the Stanley Classic Vacuum Bottle and the BV Bicycle Light Set Super Bright 5 LED Headlight.
• The best-selling home improvement products on Amazon.com were the Philips Hue White A19 Single LED Bulb (Works with Amazon Alexa), Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance 3rd Generation A19 10W Equivalent Dimmable LED Smart Bulb (Works with Amazon Alexa) and Himalayan Glow Pink Salt Lamp.
• The best-selling lawn and garden products in the U.S. this holiday season included the Weber 6492 Original Instant-Read Thermometer, Snow Joe SJBLZD Telescoping Snow Broom with Ice Scraper and Bounty Hunter TK4 Tracker IV Metal Detector.
• The best-selling office products in the U.S. were Elmer’s Liquid School Glue (1 Gallon) – Great For Making Slime, Georgia-Pacific Spectrum Standard 92 Multipurpose Paper (8.5 x 11 Inches) and Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pens (Assorted Colors, 12-Count).
• The best-selling business, industrial and scientific supplies in the U.S. included the First Aid Only All-Purpose First Aid Essentials Kit, Rubbermaid Commercial Stainless Steel Oven Monitoring Thermometer and TOPGREENER TU2154A High Speed USB Charger Outlet.
• The best-selling TVs in the U.S. this holiday season were the TCL 32-Inch 720p Roku Smart LED TV (2017 Model), Samsung Electronics 40-Inch 1080p Smart LED TV (2017 Model), TCL 49-Inch 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV (2017 Model) and Samsung Electronics 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2017 Model).
Holiday Best Sellers — Canada
• The best-selling smart home product in Canada and worldwide was the TP-Link Smart Plug.
• Instant Pot pressure cookers and accessories were among the best-selling kitchen products on Amazon.ca.
• The Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook: Easy Recipes for Fast & Healthy Meals was the best-selling physical book on Amazon.ca.
• Sony MDRZX110 On-Ear Headphones were among the best-selling electronics products on Amazon.ca.
• TubShroom, The Revolutionary Tub Drain Protector Hair Catcher/Strainer/Snare was among the best-selling home products on Amazon.ca.
• The top-selling toys on Amazon.ca were Fingerlings – Interactive Baby Monkey – Sophie (White with Pink Hair) By WowWee, Cards Against Humanity: Canadian Edition and What Do You Meme? Adult Party Game.
• Tile Mate – Key Finder was among the top selling wireless electronics products on Amazon.ca.
• The top-selling DVDs on Amazon.ca were Game of Thrones Season 7, The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Tenth Season, The Crown – Season 1, Harry Potter: The Complete 8-Film Collection and American Horror Story: Roanoke.
• This year, 4x more music from Amazon Music was streamed over Alexa compared to last holiday season.
• Amazon Music listeners loved using the lyrics feature to ask for songs on Alexa over the holidays, requesting Jingle Bells more than any other festive track just by saying a few words from the song.
• Listeners wanted to slow down and unwind this season, asking Alexa to play “relaxing” music more than any other mood through Amazon Music.
• Listeners in New York, Seattle, Chicago, Houston and San Diego streamed more holiday songs on Amazon Music via Alexa, than any other cities in the U.S.
• Christmas by Michael Bublé was once again the most played album on Amazon Music during the holiday season.
• All I want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey held the top spot for the most streamed holiday song on Amazon Music for the second year in a row.
• The most-watched season over the holidays was the Golden Globe-nominated Prime Original The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
• The most-watched series this holiday was The Grand Tour.
• The most-watched Amazon Original movie this holiday season was The Big Sick.
• The most-watched Kids Prime Original over the holidays was If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.
• The most-purchased movie over the holidays was Elf.
• The most-purchased series over the holidays was The Walking Dead.
• The most-watched Amazon Channel subscriptions this holiday season were HBO, Showtime and STARZ, and the current seasons of Game of Thrones, Shameless and Power, were the top watched shows on each channel, respectively.
• The top match-up of Prime Video’s 10-game Thursday Night Football schedule this season was on Dec. 7, when two million worldwide viewers watched the Atlanta Falcons beat the New Orleans Saints 20-17
• The most-read Kindle book in Amazon First Reads in 2017 was Beneath A Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan.
• The best-selling and most-listened-to audiobook of 2017 was The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson, narrated by Roger Wayne.
• The most-listened-to fiction audiobook of 2017 was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, narrated by Jim Dale.
• The most-commented-on audiobook of 2017 was Born a Crime by Trevor Noah, narrated by the author.
• According to Amazon Charts, the most read and most gifted Kindle book in the U.S. this holiday season was Origin: A Novel by Dan Brown.
• According to Amazon Charts, the top book Kindle readers in the U.S. found Unputdownable this holiday season was Year One: Chronicles of the One, Book 1 by Nora Roberts, reading it cover-to-cover faster than other books.
• According to Amazon Charts, the Most Wished For books of 2017 in the U.S. were The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson, Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil Degrasse Tyson and Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari.
• Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale was the most borrowed book from Prime Reading, worldwide, in 2017.
• Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook by Laurel Randolph, independently published through Kindle Direct Publishing, has been topping Amazon Charts throughout the holiday season – reaching #1 on the most sold non-fiction list the week of Cyber Monday.
• This holiday season was better than ever for the family of Echo products. The Echo Dot was the #1 selling Amazon Device this holiday season, and the best-selling product from any manufacturer in any category across all of Amazon, with millions sold.
• Customers purchased more than twice as many Amazon Fire TV Sticks compared to last year’s holiday season. Fire TV continues to be the #1 streaming media player family in the U.S., U.K., Germany, and Japan, across all retailers.
• It was the best holiday season ever for Fire Kids Edition Tablets with 2.4x as many devices purchased from Amazon.com compared to the same time period last year.
• Echo devices have been an extremely popular gift this year, with Echo Spot, Echo Dot and Echo Buttons selling out this holiday season; customers can still pre-order to reserve their place in line and orders will be filled on a first come, first served basis.
• This year, Kindle celebrated its 10th holiday season.
• This season, Amazon customers purchased enough WowWee Fingerlings Interactive Baby Monkey toys on Amazon.com to hang end-to-end down the Empire State Building more than 100 times.
• Amazon.com customers purchased enough TVs to create nearly 2,500 towers the size of the Space Needle.
• Amazon customers purchased enough littlebits Star Wars Droid Inventor Kits on Amazon.com to man an Imperial-II class Star Destroyer.
• Amazon customers purchased enough Calvin Klein products on Amazon.com during the holiday to give five items to every attendee at Coachella 2017.
• Amazon customers purchased enough shoes on Amazon.com during the holiday season were lined up end-to-end, they would stretch from Alaska to Miami.
• This holiday season, Amazon.com customers purchased enough Wickedly Prime Truffle Spreads to make over half a million dipped strawberries.
• Treasure Truck customers purchased enough holiday wreaths that when stacked, one on top of the other, would reach the top of the Empire State Building nearly five and a half times.
• Amazon.com customers purchased enough Instant Pot pressure cookers this holiday to make more than nine million bowls of chili at once.
• Amazon.com customers purchased enough AmazonBasics hangers to hold an outfit for each person in the city of Houston, TX—the fourth most-populated city in the U.S.
• If you lined up all the copies of Jeff Kinney’s The Getaway that Amazon sold during the holiday season, you would reach the height of 444 Saturn V rockets.
• If you collected all of the copies of Walter Isaacson’s Leonardo Da Vinci that Amazon sold over the holidays, they would weigh the equivalent of 25,417 gallons of paint—enough paint to cover over Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling 1,592 and a half times.
• This holiday, millions of Prime members voice shopped with Alexa for gifts, Amazon devices and everyday household essentials. The most popular items purchased by voice were the Echo Dot, Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote and TP-Link Smart Plug Mini.
• Alexa helped mix tens of thousands of cocktails this holiday season with Martini and Manhattan being the most requested drinks.
• The recipe for chocolate chip cookies was the most requested recipe this holiday season.
• The most requested song from Alexa customers this holiday season was Jingle Bells.
• The East Coast of the United States was more in the holiday spirit this season, asking Alexa to play holiday music 2.5x as many times as the West Coast.
• Alexa customers turned on their holiday lights more than a million times via Alexa this holiday season.
• Alexa customers asked for tens of millions of jokes this holiday season.
• The most common person people called this holiday season was “Mom” in the U.S. and Germany, and “Dad” in the U.K.
• Music listening time on Alexa was 3x as much this holiday season compared to last holiday season.
• Customers wished Alexa a “Merry Christmas,” “Happy holidays” and “Happy Hanukkah” 3.5x more this year when compared to last year’s holiday season.
• People asked about Santa 4x as much this holiday season compared to last holiday season.
• Customers asked Alexa for cooking-related advice more than 9x as much this year compared to last holiday season.
• The most-requested movies this holiday season via Alexa were Trolls and Elf.
• Alexa on Fire TV is more popular than ever before, with usage in the United States up 889% over the same time period last year.
Alexa customers set 3x as many timers this year compared to last holiday season.
Amazon Delivered this Holiday
• Across North America and the Europe, associates at 10 fulfillment centers picked, packed, and shipped more than one million customer packages in a single day.
• Amazon’s peak day of customer fulfillment in 2017 was December 19, 2017.
• In 2017, Amazon increased the size of its fulfillment and shipping network by more than 30% in square footage worldwide.
• In the U.S., more than 6,000 trailers and 32 Amazon Air planes helped get holiday orders to customers this season.
• Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Amazon Air carried enough packages to equal over a billion Echo Dots.
• An Amazon Air cargo plane can hold more than 10,000 Instant Pots.
• The last Prime Now order in time for Christmas was delivered in 58 minutes at 11:58 p.m. on Christmas Eve in Baltimore, MD. The order included the Kid Galaxy Amphibious RC Car Morphibians Shark Remote Control Toy, the Crayola Oil Pastels Art Tools, 28 ct., and the VTech Click and Count Remote.
• The top five items ordered on a mobile device were the Echo Dot, Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote and the TP-Link Smart Plug.
• Customers worldwide shopping on the Amazon App increased nearly 70% this holiday season.
• More than 1,400 electronics products were ordered per second on a mobile device this holiday season.
• AR view saw the most usage on Cyber Monday. The most popular item viewed with AR view throughout this holiday season was a black chair with ottoman. Top categories viewed with AR view are furniture, toys, Amazon devices, kitchen items and consumer electronics.
• Amazon’s Treasure Truck fleet and festively wrapped Amazon semi-trucks made special deliveries as part of Amazon’s “Delivering Smiles” holiday tour. Together, the trucks stopped in over 30 communities where Amazon employees live and work, donating thousands of items including STEM toys, books, devices, and household essentials to women, children, and families in immediate need. At the end of the tour, Amazon donated $1 for every mile the trucks traveled to the National Alliance to End Homelessness. The “Delivering Smiles” holiday tour in the U.S. and Canada expanded Amazon’s growing support of children and families in immediate need