First Data SpendTrend® Holiday Shopping Season Analysis Reveals Modest Increase in Retail Dollar Volume, Strong Consumer Confidence

Report analyzes transaction data from more than one million merchants, spanning nationwide purchases from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday

Highlights:

  • Year-over-year (YOY) retail dollar volume for the full weekend increased by 5.3%; transaction volume increased by 5.0%
  • Consumer confidence remains high overall, which is reflected in increased credit card usage
  • Highest sales growth came from the Western region of the United States
  • Building material & garden equipment, furniture & home furnishings, and electronics & appliances sales led retail subcategories growth

ATLANTA – Dec. 8, 2014 – Earlier store openings and frothy headlines lent a hyped-up atmosphere to the debut of the 2014 holiday shopping season. The amplified energy level worked, up to a point, benefitting large and small retailers, who saw an uptick in sales, but not as much as last year, according to data released today from First Data, the global leader in payments technology and solutions.

The First Data 2014 SpendTrend® Holiday Shopping Spend Analysis, one of the largest and most precise samples of in-store transaction data, examined consumer spending from more than one million merchant locations from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. The report uncovered year-over-year (YOY) retail dollar volume growth of 5.3%, a decrease from last year’s growth of 7.4% over the five day period. Similarly, retail transaction growth was 5.0% compared to 6.0% in 2013.

“Despite only modest growth from last year, there were some encouraging signs in the data, including a shift from debit to credit card usage that indicates strong consumer confidence,” said Krish Mantripragada, SVP, Information and Analytics Solutions, First Data . “The boost in credit spending may indicate that consumers are feeling more confident about their current financial situation, likely driven by the improvement in the labor market and reduction in gasoline prices.”

Western U.S. States Dominate Sales Growth

While consumers are showing confidence, economic and demographic trends, along with the inclement weather in the Northeast and South, was enough to keep some shoppers home over the holiday weekend. The states with the lowest overall sales growth were Kentucky (-3.1%) and Maine (-1.7%). Regional sales growth across the nation was dominated by the West, which were home to the states with the largest overall growth. These include Utah (14.7%) and Oregon (11.1%).

Strong Weekend for Building Material & Garden Equipment, Electronics & Appliances, and Furniture & Home Furnishings

The retail categories that experienced the highest growth overall were building material & garden equipment, electronics & appliances, and furniture & home furnishings at 10.4%, 10.0%, and 8.6%, respectively. Despite the fact that many shoppers were purchasing electronics and appliances over the weekend, the deep discounting for those products decreased the overall ticket spend. The category had the largest decline in average ticket price, from $149.49 to $131.26.

Clothing and accessories experienced the biggest drop YOY in spending, from 8.9% last year to just 3% growth this year. This was followed by general merchandise retailers and health and personal care stores.

Early Shopping Hours on Thanksgiving Made Little Impact

Retailers that opened early on Thanksgiving succeeded in getting shoppers to the store earlier, but the sales tactic did not make a significant impact as Thanksgiving Day, comparatively, was the lowest performing of all five days. Additionally, late night shoppers seemed to stay home this year, as overnight shopping from Thanksgiving into Black Friday decreased between the hours of 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.

The data suggests, however, that shoppers are ready to spend in the evening hours on Thursday. The hours of 5-7 p.m. on Thanksgiving showed significantly higher spending than the same time block last year. Overnight shopping from Thanksgiving into Black Friday decreased between the hours of 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.

The First Data 2014 SpendTrend® Holiday Shopping Spend Analysis, one of the largest and most precise samples of in-store transaction data, examined consumer spending from more than one million merchant locations over the Thanksgiving and Black Friday holiday (November 27 – December 2, 2014).

About First Data
First Data is a global technology leader in the financial services industry. With 24,000 employee-owners and operations in 35 countries, the company provides secure and innovative payment technology and services to more than six million merchants and financial institutions around the world, from Main Street shops to the world’s largest corporations. Today, businesses in nearly 70 countries trust First Data to secure and process more than 2,000 financial transactions per second, totaling $1.8 trillion a year. First Data’s unparalleled infrastructure, scale and partnerships go “beyond the transaction” with next-generation point-of-sale technology fueled by powerful analytics to detect fraud, gain insights into consumer spending, and strengthen customer loyalty. All day, every day, First Data helps its clients thrive in the evolving world of commerce.

Media Contact
Cindi Kurczewski, First Data
404-890-2428
Cynthia.Kurczewski@firstdata.com

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