Holiday spending hits a new record in 2017 as sales soared by 4.9%

People line up for a Black Friday giveaway outside the Mall of America. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Holiday spending at retail set a new record in 2017 as sales soared by 4.9% according to  Mastercard SpendingPulse tracking research.

The research, which covers all retail sales from November 1 to December 24 across all retail sectors, says that spending rose at its fastest annual rate since 2011.

Online shopping was an even bigger winner, with sales up 18.1% compared to the holiday season in 2016.

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“Overall, this year was a big win for retail. The strong US economy was a contributing factor, but we also have to recognize that retailers who tried new strategies to engage holiday shoppers were the beneficiaries of this sales increase.” said Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president of Market Insights, Mastercard.

Watch sales were not specifically singled out in the Mastercard report, but jewelry was named as a hot category, particularly when retailers got aggressive at sale times.

Retailers’ heavy early-season promotions paid off, with the first three weeks of November seeing significant jumps. In addition, shoppers were still spending late into the season, with December 23 next to Black Friday in terms of single-day spending. This was a boon to certain categories, including jewelry. Jewelry grew 5.9 percent, largely driven by last-minute sales, the report says.

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