Continuing the industry’s current strong run, jewelry sales in July 2021 jumped 83% over sales in July 2020—when the COVID-19 pandemic was at its height—and an impressive 54% over non-pandemic-affected July 2019, according to new data released by Mastercard SpendingPulse.
SpendingPulse is the credit card company’s ongoing data service that measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment, including cash and checks.
Overall retail sales in July 2021, excluding auto and gas, rose 10.9% over the previous year, fueled in part by pent-up savings and the child tax credit that was part of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. The role played by the child tax credit was demonstrated in an uptick in apparel and department store sales following its first distribution on July 15, SpendingPulse said.
Brick-and-mortar shopping has returned in a big way, with in-store sales making up 81.9% of total retail sales (excluding auto and gas) for the month. In-store sales grew 15.5% over July of last year, exceeding pre-pandemic levels, according to SpendingPulse. Online sales grew too, SpendingPulse found, but not as much.
“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 Inc., in a statement. “July numbers reflect a return to the store. Consumers are shopping, spending, and splurging across channels.”
Also showing surprising strength were department stores, which some had lately viewed as a bygone relic. Department store sales rose an amazing 45% over July 2020, and a healthy 7% over July 2019, fueled by back-to-school spending, SpendingPulse found.
Bricklin Dwyer, Mastercard’s chief economist and head of the Mastercard Economics Institute, said in a statement, “Combined with greater savings and higher demand, the child tax credit has provided a boost for families and is putting more money into retailers’ pockets.”
(Photo: Getty Images)
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