Online shopping has given US holiday season sales a massive boost according to a report by Mastercard.
Online shopping contributed 14.6 per cent to the overall US retail sales this year, which reflects the 18.8 per cent rise from the 2018 period.
The report by Mastercard tracks retail sales data from November 1 through to Christmas Eve. This is a significant period for retailers in terms of annual sales, and can account for up to 40 per cent of all annual retail sales.
It is a period that offers retailers who have struggled during the year to recoup their losses, and for others to boost profits.
Many retailers especially the small ones, are in an existential battle with the online behemoth and retail bogeyman Amazon for market share. Amazon made it even harder for retailers during the holiday sales period, by extending its free returns policy up to January and expanding it to other products that were not previously included.
However, retail sales over the holiday period is expected to rise by between 3.8 per cent and 4.2 per cent, according to the National Retail Federation.
In contrast with the US, retail sales in the UK have slumped, with November sales at their weakest as consumers held back on spending in the run up to Christmas.
Figures released by the Office of National Statistics showed that in comparison to the previous month, there was a fall of 0.6 per cent in retail sales in November across the UK.
It is believed that this situation was caused by a combination of factors including Brexit and the general election, as well as the unsettled and poor weather conditions. Many retailers have resorted to slashing prices and giving big discounts in the hope of attracting shoppers during the rest of the Christmas season.