Industry News | January 13, 2011

Card Spending Slows in December, Says First Data

First Data Corporation, a global provider in electronic commerce and payment processing, released its First Data SpendTrend analysis for the full month of December 2010 compared to December 2009. SpendTrend tracks same-store consumer spending via credit, signature debit, PIN debit, and EBT cards at U.S. merchant locations.

December’s same-store dollar volume growth was 6.5 percent (5.9 percent excluding gasoline stations), a significant decline from November’s growth of 8.1 percent (7.8 percent excluding gasoline stations).

“Card spending growth slowed in December compared to November,” says Silvio Tavares, senior vice president and division manager of First Data Information and Analytics Services. “Consumers decided to spend earlier in the holiday season this year in order to take advantage of retailer discounts.”

In December, average tickets fell 1 percent, compared to November’s increased growth of 0.4 percent. Consumers were willing to increase their average ticket size in November, but returned to their more cautious ways in December.

After using their credit cards to make holiday purchases in November, consumers reigned in credit spending in December. Credit transaction growth was 3.5 percent, a decline from November’s growth of 5.4 percent. Credit dollar volume growth also slowed to 4.4 percent from November’s growth of 8.0 percent. With consumers hesitant to incur new debt, revolving credit balances have declined steadily during the past two years.

Consumers remained concerned about the overall economy, which was reflected in dollar volume growth of 6.5 percent, compared to November’s healthy growth of 8.1 percent. After benefiting from a strong early holiday season, Retailers posted overall dollar volume growth of 5.2 percent, a decrease from November’s growth of 8.5 percent.