Retail Sales Surge Again in April

Consumers are eagerly jumping back into buying this spring, with retail sales surging once again in April.
blurry shoppers

That’s according to the latest Mastercard SpendingPulse, which reported a 23.3% year-over-year increase in April retail sales. The report measures U.S. in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment, Chain Store Age reported.

Executive Summary

The April surge comes after retail sales rebounded in March, with consumers feeling more confident about the Covid-19 pandemic as the national vaccination program began to roll out. Plus, more consumers had fuller pockets thanks to federal stimulus checks provided in March. Retail sales in March were up 17.7% year over year, according to the National Retail Federation.


From April 2019, retail sales were up 10.8%, Mastercard found. Online sales saw a huge year-over-year increase, rising 19.9% from April 2020. From 2019, April sales surged 95.6% this year.

“April's retail sales growth reinforces that the American consumer is healthy and eager to spend, especially on categories such as restaurants, which have faced restrictions over the past year,” said Steve Sadove, Mastercard senior advisor and former CEO of Saks. “There are a lot of factors at play including stimulus funds, pent-up demand, and the desire to reconnect with friends and family. The fact is that people are excited to gather again and they're refreshing their look for the occasion.”

The report further noted that restaurants, which have suffered during the Covid-19 pandemic, also found better footing in April, with spending up 118.8% compared to a year ago. From 2019, restaurant spending was up 5.7%. April was also the second consecutive month of positive growth for the sector, revealing that more Americans are getting outside of their homes to eat again. Limited-serve restaurants, such as fast food restaurants, saw spending rise 21.7% compared to 2019.

In addition, while online sales shattered records in 2020, the e-commerce demand has somewhat stuck, with online sales remaining elevated in April 2021. The e-commerce share of total retail spending continued to rise, reaching 21.6%. Several other depressed sectors, including department stores, jewelry and lodging, also saw big gains in April, according to Chain Store Age.

See the full story at Chain Store Age.