Despite retail sales declining sequentially each of the last three months of the year, the 2020 holiday shopping season was one for the record books. Retail sales during 2020’s November-December holiday season grew an unexpectedly high 8.3% over the same period in 2019. The 8.3% increase was more than double the 3.5% average holiday increase over the previous five years, including 2019’s 4% gain.
The data includes online and other non-stores sales, which were up 23.9% to $209 billion. From November to December, retail sales fell a seasonally-adjusted 1.6%, but were up 8.6% unadjusted year-over-year. That built on a year-over-year gain of 8% in November despite November’s sequential decline of 0.9% from October. As of December, the three-month moving average was up 8.9% over the same period in 2019.