In a startling report, Mastercard singled out "jewelry" as the fastest growing retail sector, with July 2021 sales jumping a whopping 54.2% compared to pre-pandemic July 2019 levels. When comparing July 2021 jewelry sales to those in July 2020, the growth is even more dramatic, with the jewelry sector accelerating 82.6%.
In the 2021 vs 2019 comparison, jewelry far outpaced apparel (+10.2%), department stores (+7.2%), furniture & furnishings (26.8%), grocery (+10.9%), hardware (+18.6%) and restaurants (+30.2%).
Overall, Mastercard SpendingPulse™ — which measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment — revealed that retail sales in the U.S. grew for the 11th consecutive month in July. Overall sales were up 10.9% in July and in-store sales were up 15.5% over that same period.
July's retail sales growth of 10.9% is nearly quadruple the recent four-year average, which registered just 2.9%.
The analysts at Mastercard SpendingPulse™ believe that the spending growth was spurred, in part, by the infusion of cash provided by the Child Tax Credit, as well as pent-up savings.
They also pointed to a rush of shoppers returning to physical stores.
“While e-commerce continues to play an increasingly significant role for retail, nothing replaces the in-store experience,” said Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former CEO and Chairman of Saks Incorporated. “July numbers reflect a return to the store. Consumers are shopping, spending and splurging across channels.”
Credit: Image by Bigstockphoto.com. Chart by Mastercard SpendingPulse™.