Industry News | December 21, 2010

Spending Up in December, But Not as Much as in November

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

In early December, as consumers continued to shop for the holidays, year-over-year dollar volume growth was 6.6 percent, a decrease from November’s strong growth of 8.1 percent. Overall dollar volume growth was healthy in light of tougher year-over-year comparables. Seasonality also had an impact on overall growth as the first two weeks of December often see a slowdown in spending following the pre-holiday and Black Friday sales in late November. 

With the holiday season well underway, consumers were more cautious and value oriented. In early December, consumers made more frequent purchases, but average ticket size was smaller. This was reflected in overall average ticket size, which declined 1.4 percent (1.5 percent excluding gasoline stations). Transaction growth picked up in early December as year-over-year growth rose 8.1 percent, compared to November’s growth of 7.7 percent.

At retailers, dollar volume growth was 5.4 percent, compared to 8.5 percent in November. Transaction growth also slowed to 5.9 percent from 7.7 percent in the prior month. Tougher year-over-year comparables led to the slowing growth. Soft-line merchants continued to perform better than hard-line merchants. 

Clothing/accessory stores performed well with dollar volume growth of 7.0 percent and average tickets rose 1.0 percent. Electronics/appliances continued to struggle with dollar volume growth of 6.6 percent and average tickets declined 1.8 percent.