Report: Holiday Shoppers Saved So Much On Gas, They Spent 8% More This Year

If you felt like you reached into your wallet a few more times this holiday season than last year, or that you were forking over bigger chunks of change, you’re not alone: a new report says retail sales were up 7.9% over 2014’s numbers.

Online sales were, unsurprisingly, a big contributor to this year’s uptick, according to MasterCard SpendingPulse, which looked at U.S. retail sales trends across cards, cash and checks, and retail sales (not including auto and gas) during the Black Friday to Christmas Eve shopping season. Ecommerce sales jumped about 20% up from last year, indicating that everyone likes staying home and shopping in their soft pants. Furniture sales were also hot this year, MasterCard’s report says.

“After a slow start, I’m very happy to see that the holiday season was hot for retailers,” said Sarah Quinlan, SVP, Market Insights for MasterCard Advisors. “We saw some very promising trends. The double-digit growth in furniture sales, for instance, shows that consumers are willing and able to splurge on big ticket items. eCommerce’s rise is a solid indication of an empowered and savvy shopper. We’ll be watching to see if this behavior continues into 2016.”

Part of the reason we were perhaps more willing to part with our hard-earned dollars? Big savings on gas — which had a national average price under $2 per gallon by Christmas.

Though the report doesn’t include spending by dollar amounts, the National Retail Federation expects sales for November and December to rise 3.7% to $630.5 billion from a year ago. NRF is slated to release its official holiday retail projections in January.

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