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Online sales hit record high during holiday shopping season: report

Online sales in the U.S. hit a record high this holiday season, according to a new report from credit card company Mastercard.

Data from Nov. 1 through Dec. 24 showed that e-commerce sales rose 18.8 percent from last year and amounted to 14.6 percent of all retail sales, Mastercard said in a statement on the report’s findings.

Overall retail purchases, excluding autos, increased 3.4 percent from the same period in 2018.

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“E-commerce sales hit a record high this year with more people doing their holiday shopping online,” Mastercard senior adviser Steve Sadove said in a statement. “Due to a later than usual Thanksgiving holiday, we saw retailers offering omnichannel sales earlier in the season, meeting consumers’ demand for the best deals across all channels and devices.”

With Thanksgiving falling on Nov. 28 this year, there were fewer days during the traditional holiday shopping season compared with last year, when Thanksgiving was on Nov. 22.

President Trump touted the 3.4 percent gain in a tweet Wednesday.

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The president referred to the increase as being a record high, but Mastercard spokesman William Tsang told Reuters that this year’s sales growth was not the largest ever.

Tsang said there was a 5.1 percent growth in total sales last year over 2017.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the differing numbers.

Trump has consistently touted economic gains under his presidency as one of his greatest accomplishments. The strength of the economy is expected to play a decisive role in his reelection bid.

Updated at 9:31 p.m.

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