With gas prices on the rise, thus curtailing trips to the mall, e-commerce sales posted a fifth consecutive month of double-digit growth in March according the latest MasterCard SpendingPulse report that was issued today.
Online retail sales increased 16.1 percent last month compared to March of 2010, building on the 13.2 percent year over year growth that MasterCard reported for February.
“Most retail sectors continued to record solid growth year-over-year, similar to February, although we’re not seeing an acceleration of momentum from February to March,” said Michael McNamara, vice president, research and analysis for MasterCard Advisors. “The lack of increased momentum in some sectors could be due to calendar shifts, given that Easter falls very late this year.”
Leading the spending charge was the online apparel category, which saw an 18.7 percent year over year increase in spending. It marked the 16th consecutive month of growth for online apparel sales. Total apparel sales, including those in brick and mortar storefronts, was up 4.4 percent as well, to be expected as a new season begins and shoppers start looking to update and expand their wardrobes. Footwear was the only sub-sector within the apparel category not to post strong gains in March.
MasterCard’s report also showed a decent March for traditional retailers in other categories and sectors as well.
The furniture industry for example, one that we don’t usually address with these kinds of reports, posted a decent increase of 2.4 percent, its 5th consecutive month of posting gains.
Meanwhile, the SpendingPulse luxury index, which tracks sales at high-end restaurants, grocers, department stores and general apparel categories, was up for a sixth straight month as well, posting gains of 8.5 percent. That’s the highest year-over-year growth for luxury goods since December of last year.
As always, MasterCard compiles the report based on all transactions in its network for a given month, including allbrands of credit and debit cards, cash and checks.
We’ll keep tracking retail sales data as it emerges this spring and hope that the upward trend continues! Leave us your thoughts and comments below!