Double-Digit Retail Sales Close 2020 and Start 2021, Reports NPD

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“As gift card redemption and returns kick in through mid-January, not to mention post-season gifting delays amid delivery and gathering restrictions, the true holiday shopping season will continue to expand beyond any traditional measurement,” said Marshal Cohen, NPD’s chief industry advisor.

The final holiday push during the last two weeks of 2020, inching into 2021, each brought 13% year-over-year dollar sales growth, resulting in combined holiday 2020 season-to-date retail growth of 2% compared to the same 13 weeks a year ago, reports The NPD Group (1).

NPD’s Checkout data from receipts highlights the changes in shopping activity across the total retail industry due to COVID-19.

  • The week of Christmas showed in-store purchase activity was just -2% lower than it was in the same week in 2019 – the strongest year-over-year comp for the channel since store closures first occurred across the country.
  • Overall purchase activity during the final week of 2020 showed its strongest year-over-year comp of the entire year at +7% versus the same week last year. Online purchasing, at +49%, showed its strongest year-over-year performance since Amazon’s Prime Week in October.

“Last-minute shopping was alive and well during Holiday 2020, and it’s not over yet,” said Marshal Cohen, NPD’s chief industry advisor, retail. “As gift card redemption and returns kick in through mid-January, not to mention post-season gifting delays amid delivery and gathering restrictions, the true holiday shopping season will continue to expand beyond any traditional measurement.”

Last minute gifts drove Christmas week.
Six of the top 10 growth categories over Christmas week saw 20% or more of their total seasonal dollar gains during this one week.

Top 10 YOY Dollar Growth Categories – Christmas Week 2020*
General Merchandise (2), week ending December 26, 2020 vs. last year
1 – Video Game Hardware
2 – PCs
3 – Fragrance Juices
4 – LCD TV
5 – Sweatshirts
6 – Sleepwear
7 – Sports Toys
8 – Games (Toys)
9 – Video Game Cards
10 – Fashion Dolls/Accessories & Role Play

For more information, or to speak with Marshal Cohen, contact Janine Marshall at janine.marshall@npd.com, and check NPD’s Now in Retail page and follow @NPDGroup on Twitter to see the latest insights across retail.

1 Source: The NPD Group/Point-of-Sale Early Indicator Report, NPD Universe, WE January 2, 2021
2 Source: The NPD Group/Retail Tracking Service, apparel, athletic footwear, beauty, Blu-ray/DVD, office supplies, small appliances, technology, toys, video games.
*Seasonal Category Tracking is based on a subset of industries available weekly at a category level.

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