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ICYMI December: First Data in the News

In case you missed it (ICYMI), below, we’ve compiled the biggest stories from around the web in December, featuring issues important to First Data clients and interested parties from the industry including stories about the growth of ecommerce, several stories that cited our mid-season SpendTrend update, tips on how to boost post-holiday sales, and more.

A week ago . . . in a piece for Digital Transactions News, an online outlet covering payments technology and the industry, writer Kevin Woodward penned a report citing First Data numbers entitled “E-Commerce Is Garnering a Higher Percentage of Total Holiday Sales, Says First Data.”

Therein, Krish Mantripragada, First Data senior vice president of information and analytics solutions, talked online sales growth and was quoted as saying:

“Clearly, as more and more consumers get comfortable shopping online, they are shopping at their own convenience and doing it more frequently in bite sizes,” Mantripragada says. “We did notice some marginal drop in ticket sizes in some categories, but the number of times that people shopped increased.”

Two weeks ago. . . First Data published our eagerly-anticipated Mid-season SpendTrend Update, and news outlets were excited to see the data and how consumers are continuing to spend this season. With each of the SpendTrend reports, we provided an exclusive preview of the data to one news publication, prior to distributing it more broadly. The Wall Street Journal had the first look at the Thanksgiving and Black Friday report, landing us on the front page of the Business & Technology section.

In addition, The Associated Press used the report to highlight how consumers are shifting to online commerce, writing:

"Online sales growth so far this holiday season is surpassing growth in sales at physical stores, according to First Data, which analyzed online and in-store payments from Oct. 31 through Monday. The change in spending is largely due to more retailers working to improve their websites and offer speedier delivery on orders placed online. As a result, shoppers, who increasingly are looking for convenience, are spending more of their holiday budgets online. That's led to a big gap in some product categories between online and physical stores. According to First Data, clothing and accessories stores had a 2.9 percent sales decline so far this season, compared with a 3.7 percent increase online. Furniture and home furnishings store sales slipped 0.5 percent, while online increased 8.1 percent."

CNBC covered the report in a segment that aired on Friday morning after the AP story went live. The segment was solely focused on First Data and cited our breakdown of spending by industry, which included categories like Sporting Goods & Hobbies, Building Materials & Garden Equipment, Electronics & Appliances, and Clothing & Accessories. The reporter noted:

"I just got an update from First Data, this is a company that has merchants - 1.3 million [analyzed for this report] - on total holiday spending this season between October 31 and December 14 both online and in-store. Total sales are up 2.4%. That is stronger than the 1.8% sales growth that we saw last year during the same period, according to First Data."

Three weeks ago . . . Small Biz Daily, an online publication for small business owners, wrote an article about the importance of gift cards. The article featured a section called "It's in the (Gift) Cards" and cited our 2015 Consumer Insights Study and mentioned digital gift card app Gyft.

"According to First Data’s 2015 Consumer Insights Study, in 2015, 83% of consumers plan to purchase the same amount of or more physical gift cards than last year, while 88% expect to buy the same number of or more e-gift cards."

Also . . . Apparel News published an article that provided ideas to business owners looking to boost holiday and post-holiday sales and featured an interview with Tom Niedbalski for the article. The piece also highlighted the report, noting "that physical and e-gift cards can boost sales. Almost two-thirds of gift-card recipients spent more than the value of the gift cards." The piece also included:

"To boost sales during slow periods and after the holidays, retailers should develop gift-card programs, according to Tom Niedbalski, vice president of First Data Corp.’s Transaction Wireless. First Data is a payments-technology company headquartered in Atlanta. In July, the company acquired the San Diego–based Transaction Wireless Inc., a digital gift-card distribution platform. 'Black Friday is no longer a one-day event. It is a cyber month,' Niedbalski said, adding that consumer engagement increases with digital gift cards."