Consumers Return to In-Store Shopping

Foot traffic is up while online sales are down

By Alan Wolf, YSN

Now that spring has sprung and the worst of the pandemic is seemingly behind us, shoppers are stepping away from their computers and returning to brick-and-mortar stores in droves.

According to Mastercard SpendingPulse, which tracks U.S. retail sales, in-store sell-through was up 10 percent last month over April 2021, led by shoppers in California, New York, Florida, Nevada and Illinois.

In contrast, e-commerce sales slipped 1.8 percent year over year, although online purchases remain a whopping 92 percent higher than the pre-pandemic levels of April 2019, the research showed.

Related: Brick-and-Mortar Retail Resurges

Purchases of warm-weather apparel helped lead the sales charge last month, although continued demand for appliances and electronics, as well as furniture and home furnishings, also contributed to the gains. April sales for the appliance/electronics sector increased 4.6 percent over last year and were still 36.2 percent ahead of April 2019. Likewise, April sales of furniture and home furnishings rose 3.8 percent over last year — representing the seventh consecutive month of growth — and were up almost 26 percent from three years ago.

“While the super-hot housing market is starting to show signs of cooling, consumers continue investing in their homes and feathering their nests for seasons to come,” Mastercard said.

Beside revealing a resurgence in in-store shopping, the SpendingPulse data also reflects consumer resilience in the face of inflation. As Mastercard senior advisor and former Saks CEO Steve Sadove observed, “It seems like everyone is out shopping for something.”