According to Mastercard SpendingPulseTM, which measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment, U.S. retail spending excluding automotive increased +11.2% year-over-year in July, while retail sales excluding automotive and gas rose +9.0%. Notably, e-commerce sales were up 11.7% YOY, a sharp increase after months of softer growth. Rising prices—particularly for necessities such as food and fuel—were a contributing factor, as Mastercard SpendingPulse reflects nominal spending and is not adjusted for inflation.
Spending increases in July outpaced monthly year-over-year growth experienced thus far in 2022, with demand and higher prices both contributing factors. Of note:
- Consumers continue to spend, with inflation’s impact varying across sectors: Consumers continue to navigate high inflation as they spend on wants and needs. The Grocery sector, for instance, saw sales up +16.8% YOY in July due primarily to food price increases. On the other hand, Apparel (+16.6%) and Jewelry (+18.6%) sales saw strong demand-driven year-over-year growth, well outpacing sector-specific inflation.
- E-commerce sales climb amid major promotional events: While in-store sales remain elevated, up +11.1% YOY/ +13.9% YO3Y, e-commerce posted its first month of double-digit sales growth (+11.7% YOY) since December. E-commerce is up nearly double pre-pandemic levels (+98.5% YO3Y). Online sales have ticked up since the beginning of June, though July’s major promotional events helped entice shoppers to splurge (and save) with online deals.
- High season for vacation, with road-trippers seeing some relief at the pump: Travel remains a priority, with Lodging up +29.6% YOY and Airline sales up+13.3% YOY. Fuel & Convenience spending remains elevated (+32.3% YOY / +47.1% YO3Y), though the growth rate is down compared to June – reflecting price declines at the pump.