Planes, Trains, Automobiles…and the Strongest Retail Growth in a Year

Consumers were on the go in July, turning to planes, trains and automobiles as summer vacation travel led strong spending during the month, while those who opted for ‘staycations’ increased spending in home-related categories. But perhaps the month’s most significant news was that retail spending growth was the strongest in a year, all according to data reported in our July SpendTrend analysis.

Overall retail spending growth in July was the strongest in 11 months as nearly all retail categories turned in improved numbers. Led by categories such as Building Material & Garden Equipment and Furniture & Home Furnishings, the growth suggests the impact of fewer foreclosures and increased construction. Still, consumers remained hesitant to make big ticket and non-essential purchases.

It is also notable that both credit spending growth, which was 6.2% in July, and credit transaction growth, at 7.5% this month, were up significantly over June growth results. That growth was driven by a number of categories where credit is the preferred method of payment. Looking ahead, we anticipate August’s back-to-school sales and state tax-free holidays should spur spending growth in related categories.

Will the economy sustain the travel and home category spending increases seen in July? Tell us by visiting @FirstData on Twitter or visit First Data’s SpendTrend for more information.

Rishi Chhabra is vice president of information and analytics solutions at First Data.