Positive finish to holiday season as consumer spending rises in December

Jan 18, 2024
Written by WR Communications


The U.S. Census Bureau’s data for 2023 shows a notable increase in core retail sales during the holiday season, reaching a record $964.4 billion, up 3.8% from 2022. This growth occurred despite challenges such as inflation and high interest rates, indicating a steady consumer market.

The 2023 holiday sales surpassed the previous year’s record of $929.5 billion. The NRF forecast of a 3% to 4% increase was on target. While the growth rate was modest compared to the high spending during the pandemic years, it was consistent with the average annual increase of 3.6% seen from 2010 to 2019.

Online and non-store sales were a significant part of this growth, rising 8.2% to $276.8 billion. This reflects an ongoing trend towards online shopping, with 2023’s online holiday sales totaling $255.8 billion.

Overall, 2023’s full-year retail sales also showed growth, reaching $5.13 trillion, about a 4% increase over 2022. This steady growth suggests a stable consumer spending pattern.

In December 2023, retail sales increased by 0.7% from November and 3.3% year over year, according to NRF. The Census Bureau reported a broader increase of 0.6% from November and 5.6% year over year, including categories like autos, gas, and restaurants.

The holiday season saw increases in various retail categories, with electronics and appliance stores up 9.3%, health and personal care stores up 9%, and online sales up 8.2%. These figures indicate a healthy diversity in consumer spending across different sectors.

Overall, the 2023 retail sales data shows a solid performance in the retail sector, with significant growth achieved in a challenging economic environment, suggesting a positive trend in consumer spending and retail health.


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