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Holiday Shopping and Stats

The holiday season is a time for gathering and celebrating with friends and family, gift-giving, reflection and thanks. It is also time for some serious shopping! In fact, 14 percent of all retail sales last year occurred in December.

The U.S. Census Bureau collects a variety of information each year on retail sales, including on e-commerce. Total retail sales for the third quarter of 2010 were estimated at $978.7 billion, an increase of 0.8 percent from the second quarter of 2010.

Enjoy these holiday facts from the U.S. Census Bureau:

  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics, found that U.S. shoppers spent approximately 1 hour per day shopping in 2009.
  • Retail sales by the nation's department stores in December 2009 were $27.4 billion. This represented a 45 percent jump from the previous month. The value of retail sales by electronic shopping and mail-order houses in December 2009 was $30 billion.
  • In 2008, there were 155,578 clothing and clothing accessories stores; 8,813 department stores; 9,211 hobby, toy and game shops; 29,390 gift, novelty and souvenir shops; 22,116 sporting goods stores; 26,683 jewelry stores; and 9,708 book stores across the nation.
  • The 1905 Census of Manufactures found that there were 161 establishments in the United States involved in making toys and games. Their products were valued at $5.6 million. Today, there are more than 600 businesses producing games, toys, and children's vehicles valued at almost $3 billion.
  • In the 20th century, shopping centers and malls were built to accommodate automobiles and the growing suburbs. One of the earliest shopping malls was Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, MO. It opened in 1923 with 150 stores and parking for 5,500 automobiles. Today, there are nearly 49,000 shopping centers across the United States.

You can find more facts on the Census Bureau’s History website.

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