SpendingPulse survey shows uptick heading into holidays

New York — Shoppers opened up their wallets in early November, providing retailers with some early holiday cheer. Spending on apparel, jewelry and luxury goods showed strong increases from the same time a year ago, according to MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse, which includes transactions in all forms including cash.

“Although some sectors such as furniture and furnishings remain flat or slightly down, we are now beginning to see sharper increases in key holiday categories, indicating a solid start to the holiday season,” observed Michael McNamara, VP, research and analysis for MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse. “For now at least, we are seeing some decent growth numbers and while levels are not yet back to 2007, the year-over-year growth stats are helping to get the holiday season off to an encouraging start.”

For the pre-season period through Nov. 13, total apparel sales were up 9.7% against the same period last year. This number is over October’s year-over-year increase of 8.2% for the category, and further builds on the 7-out-of-10 months’ year-over-year gains for the sector in 2010.

The SpendingPulse Luxury ex-Jewelry Index, which tallies sales at high-end restaurant, food stores, department stores and general apparel categories, also was a gainer. Through November 13, the Luxury Index was up 6.7%, in sharp contrast to the same period last year, when luxury fell by 9.2%, and again building on October’s year-over-year momentum, wherein the category was up by 4.2% year over year.

E-commerce returned to double digit gains, continuing to build on the 7%-plus gains of August, September and October, hitting an 11.4% year-over year increase.