Spending is up in all retail categories compared with last year, according to MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse, which tracks spending on all transactions including cash, the Christian Science Monitor reports. Analysts say the increase in personal savings and a decline in consumer debt are giving consumers more confidence than they had in recent years to spend on others and even themselves.
“There is tremendous pent-up demand as consumers are tired of being afraid. So they’re seeing a little sunlight and a few more bucks in their pockets,” Robin Lewis, an independent retail consultant based in New York, told the Monitor. “They’re willing to go out there and find a little treat for themselves.”
SpendingPulse tracked retail sales beginning Oct. 31 and continuing though Dec. 11. Online sales showed the greatest increase, 13 percent, from the same period last year. Another sign of success of online shopping: Compared with the previous year, online sales increased 18.3 percent on Cyber Monday, the first business day following Thanksgiving, and 17.2 percent that entire week.