Discounting Drove Consumer Spending Growth in December

ATLANTA, Jan. 10, 2012 – First Data Corporation, a global leader in electronic commerce and payment processing, today released its First Data SpendTrend® analysis for the full month of December 2011 compared to December 2010. SpendTrend tracks same-store consumer spending by credit, signature debit, PIN debit, EBT cards and checks at U.S. merchant locations.

Dollar volume growth on cards overall was a healthy 6.9% in December. However, strong auto sales, driven by low interest rates, likely diverted consumer spending to car sales from other retail areas. Auto sales are not captured in SpendTrend figures.

Overall year-over-year average tickets declined 0.1% in December, the first negative reading since January 2011.  Merchants resorted to steep discounting to spur holiday traffic.  Consumers responded favorably to bargain pricing, as overall transaction growth was up 7.0% in December. In particular, most retail merchant categories had higher sales growth in December versus November.

“Consumer willingness to spend in December was based largely on the ability to find bargains and merchants utilized steep discounting to drive traffic,” said Silvio Tavares, SVP and division manager of First Data Global Information and Analytics Solutions, which publishes SpendTrend.

Dec. Transaction Growth CHANGE     Dec. Dollar Volume Growth CHANGE
Credit +6.1%     Credit +6.8%
Signature Debit +7.0%     Signature Debit +6.2%
PIN Debit  +8.3%     PIN Debit  +7.9%
Check -10.2%
    Check -5.9%
Note: All transactions are same-store growth.


For more information on First Data SpendTrend, visit or call SpendTrend Customer Care at 800-430-0169. A supplementary podcast including further analysis of the SpendTrend December 2011 report is available here.

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Around the world, every second of every day, First Data makes payment transactions secure, fast and easy for merchants, financial institutions and their customers. First Data leverages its vast product portfolio and expertise to drive customer revenue and profitability. Whether the choice of payment is by debit or credit card, gift card, check or mobile phone, online or at the checkout counter, First Data takes every opportunity to go beyond the transaction.

Media Contact
Elizabeth Grice, First Data

First Data SpendTrend, a macro-economic indicator, is based on aggregate same-store sales activity in the First Data Point of Sale Network. First Data SpendTrend does not represent First Data’s financial performance.