Christmas sales in the United States posted their biggest increase in 17 years, despite inflation, shortages of some products and the new variant of the coronavirus, according to specialist figures.
Mastercard Spending Pulse, which tracks all types of expenses including credit and debit cards, reported Sunday that holiday sales were up 8.5% from a year earlier. The company expected an increase of 7.4%.
The results, which ran from November 1 to December 24, were mostly driven by clothing and jewelry purchases.
Sales are up 10.7% compared to before the pandemic in 2019.
By category, clothing sales rose 47%, jewelry 32% and electronics 16%. Online sales are up 11% compared to the previous year and 61% compared to 2019.
Sales at department stores were up 21% from the previous year.
After the appearance of the omicron variant, many people stayed at home, but switched their purchases to the Internet, so the total number of sales continued to rise.
A broader picture of US sales will follow next month when the National Retail Federation releases its results for the past two months.
These results will be based on the November and December sales analysis from the Department of Commerce. Analysts will also examine corresponding financial results for the fourth quarter of the year by various retail chains, which will be released in February.