According to the latest holiday spending statistics by the National Retail Federation (NRF), which defines the holiday spending period as the months of November and December, US holiday season sales have been growing at an average of 4.9% per year from 2011 to 2021.

In 2011, consumers spent $553.3 billion during the year-end shopping season. Since then, holiday retail sales have been steadily increasing. 

The largest of these annual growths came in 2021. At a 13.5% increase year-over-year, 2021’s holiday retail sales hit $889.30 billion, beating the previous high recorded in 2020 when holiday retail sales grew at an annual rate of 9.3%. 

It also came rather unexpectedly for a year that was plagued by challenges triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, NRF analysts had previously predicted a growth of up to 11.5% to $859 billion. 

2021’s holiday retail sales growth came despite inflation, logistical disruptions, and the coronavirus pandemic. Experts have attributed the increase to strong wages and record savings from consumers, as well as some ingenuity from retailers.

Start selling online now with Shopify

Start your free trial

US holiday retail sales: 2022 growth

Despite rising inflation and falling consumer confidence, US holiday retail sales continued to grow in 2022, increasing by 5.3% over 2021’s numbers to $936.3 billion. It is also the highest ever recorded holiday sales. 

Holiday retail sales figures in 2022 fell short of experts’ growth forecast, which analysts say is an indication that consumers pulled back more than they had expected. Even then, holiday sales still grew at a faster rate than the average from the past 10 years, which registered at 4.9%.

→ Click Here to Launch Your Online Business with Shopify

A big part of 2022’s holiday retail sales growth was driven by ecommerce and non-store sales, which increased by 9.5%. 

Sectors that drove 2022’s holiday retail sales growth

Of the retail sectors that contributed to 2022’s holiday season sales growth, the biggest increase came from grocery and beverage stores. Their combined sales grew 7.8% from the previous year. Such growth in this sector was not unexpected, considering that these products currently rank among the top online shopping categories

Other sectors driving the US’ holiday retail sales in 2022 include general merchandise stores, whose sales increased by 3.8%, and sporting goods stores, which increased by 3.5%.

Start selling online now with Shopify

Start your free trial

Want to Learn More?