The holiday shopping season has brought record-breaking online and in-store spending in 2017 of more than USD 800 billion, according to Mastercard analytics arm.
In 2017, stakes were particularly high for traditional retailers that invested heavily in technology and free delivery and returns, determined to stay relevant in a market increasingly dominated by Amazon.com. Mastercard said that a late-season rally had driven an 18.1% rise in online sales. Department store chain Macy’s and Target both noted increased activity during that time.
Package delivery companies that handle returns for retailers have benefited from booming delivery volumes in recent years, but also have had to invest billions of dollars to upgrade and expand their networks to cope as ecommerce purchases surge to new heights.
United Parcel Service, a large package delivery company, said for Reuters it was on track to return a record number of packages this holiday, having handled more than 1 million returns to retailers daily in December 2017. That pace is expected to continue into early January 2018, UPS said, and would likely peak at 1.4 million on January 3, which would be a fifth consecutive annual record, up 8% from 2017.
So far, preliminary numbers show total holiday sales exceed RetailNext’s initial forecast of a 3.8% increase from 2016. RetailNext and other analytics companies and industry groups, including Adobe Analytics and the National Retail Federation, are due to publish holiday sales data in January 2018.