Shoppers Step Up Retail Spending in December
With no time to procrastinate due to the shortened holiday shopping season, shoppers stepped out in full force last month boosting dollar volume growth to a healthy 6.1%. An enticing retail environment supported the growth as merchants provided deep discounts, price-matching, free shipping guarantees and extended store hours both before and after Christmas.
Gas station dollar volume growth came in at 3.4%, the highest growth in five months, as the year-over-year gas discount tightened and as more consumers hit the road for holiday travel despite the adverse weather across much of the nation. Also seeing strong growth in December was retail spending, which jumped from 1.3% in November to 3.1% in December. Shoppers gravitated toward retail categories such as Building Material & Supply Dealers (11.1%), Health & Personal Care Stores (4.8%) and General Merchandise Stores (3.6%). General Merchandise Stores saw a jump compared to last month as these merchants offer a wide selection of products which make them an appealing one-stop holiday shopping place.
Rishi Chhabra is vice president of information and analytics solutions at First Data.