Mastercard: April sales remain stable in a context of strong physical growth

In-store sales continued to rebound in April, although consumers bought less online.

Total retail sales (excluding autos) in April were up 7.2% year-over-year and 15.3% from pre-pandemic (2019) spending, unadjusted for inflation, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse, which measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment. This is similar to the monthly year-over-year growth seen so far in 2022.

In-store sales rose 10.0%, while e-commerce sales fell 1.8% from a year ago, reflecting consumer demand to go out, according to the Mastercard report. However, online sales remain high (up 92.0%) compared to April 2019 before the pandemic. California, New York, Florida, Nevada and Illinois were among the states that brought back the brick-and-mortar charge.

April’s key trends bolster consumer resilience against inflation and highlight seasonal spending across all sectors and channels, Mastercard noted.

Here are more highlights from the latest Mastercard SpendingPulse report.

  • Clothing/department stores: Consumers are refreshing their wardrobes for potential summer trips and the warmer months ahead have contributed to continued growth in clothing (up 10.8% YoY and 8.4% in April 2019 ) and department stores (up 15.7% YoY and 22.3% pre-pandemic), although rates have started to decline from peaks earlier this year
  • Home furnishings: Furniture and fixtures sales, which saw the seventh consecutive month of positive growth, rose 3.8% year-over-year and 25.7% from April 2019. As the booming housing market begins to show signs of slowing down, consumers continue to invest in their homes and feather their nests for seasons to come.
  • Grocery: Grocery sales were up 12.4% year over year and 22.1% from April 2019.
  • Electronics/Appliances: Electronics and appliance sales were up 4.6% year-over-year and 36.2% from April 2019.
  • Jewelry: Jewelry sales were up 33.3% year over year and 51.8% from April 2019.

“Whether it’s a family barbecue, a return to the office or a prom, it seems like everyone is looking for something,” said Steve Sadove, senior adviser to Mastercard and former CEO and chairman of Saks. Incorporated. “Mastercard SpendingPulse shows spending across all industries in April.”

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