First Data Corp., a global provider of payments processing and electronic commerce solutions, released its First Data SpendTrend analysis for Oct. 31, 2013 through Dec. 2, 2013 compared to Nov. 1 through Dec. 3, 2012.
SpendTrend tracks same-store point-of-sale data by credit, signature debit, PIN debit, EBT, closed-loop prepaid cards and checks at U.S. merchant locations.
November dollar volume growth of 4.4% marked a downtick from October’s growth of 6.8%. Although the cold and dry weather at the end of the month offered perfect holiday shopping weather, several portions of the country earlier in the month dealt with blasts of snow hindering shopper foot traffic.
Transaction growth slipped in November to 4.8% compared to last month’s growth of 6.2%. Still, overall spending growth remained positive on a year-over-year basis, as it has throughout 2013, and was supported by stronger spending at Travel and Hotel merchants, which saw robust growth at 9.0% and 6.4% as more consumers travelled for Thanksgiving.
Retail growth cooled in November in spite of strong spending growth during Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Spending growth was strong at 9.0% on Thanksgiving Thursday and Black Friday. There were fewer holiday shopping days this November after Thanksgiving versus last year, the impact of which was felt across most merchant categories.
Overall retail spending growth in November was 1.3% and was a significant step down from October’s 5.6% spending growth. Shoppers pulled back on retail spending for most of the month in anticipation of holiday deals at the end of November. Building Material & Supply Dealers and Furniture and Home Furnishings merchants continued to see robust growth at 7.2% and 7.0% as consumers sustained their focus on home-improvement projects.
Average ticket growth was -0.3% in November versus October’s growth 0.5%. The underperformance of Gas Station average tickets at -4.2% continued to offset the overall growth. Average ticket growth at Gas Stations has remained in the negative territory for the past four-consecutive months. The slower growth was also attributable to price discounting by retailers. Retail average ticket growth was 0.6% compared to 1.8% last month.
“Although spending growth increased on a year-over-year basis, the growth slowed on a sequential basis as consumers were more modest in their purchases throughout the month as they prepared for the holiday shopping season,” said Krish Mantripragada, senior vice president, Information and Analytics Solutions, First Data. “We definitely see that consumers are more confident and have enjoyed stronger income growth in 2013 compared to 2012. This should encourage shoppers to open up their wallets as the holiday season progresses.”
November Dollar Volume Growth
Signature Debit +2.8%
PIN Debit +6.4%
Note: All transactions are same-store growth.