Holiday Spending Growth Down, But Consumer Confidence Appears Stronger (Dec. 18, 2014)
Store openings on Thanksgiving Day and the typical headline-seeking weekend deals by retailers helped somewhat during the traditional kickoff to the holiday shopping season this year. Retailers, large and small, had increased sales but they paled in comparison with 2013 growth, according to First Data’s SpendTrend Holiday Shopping Season Analysis.
Retail dollar volume was up 5.3 percent in 2014, a decrease from last year’s 7.4 percent jump during the five-day period. Similarly, retail transaction growth was 5 percent compared with 6 percent in 2013. The SpendTrend holiday shopping analysis examined consumer spending from more than 1 million merchant locations from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday.
Retailers that opened their doors to customers on Thanksgiving succeeded in getting shoppers to stores earlier, but the sales tactic didn’t make a significant impact as Thanksgiving Day, comparatively, was the lowest performing of all five days, according to the report. However, shopping between 5-7 p.m. on Thanksgiving showed significantly higher spending than the same time period last year. Late-night shoppers seemed to stay home this year, with overnight shopping from Thanksgiving into Black Friday decreasing between the hours of 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.
Despite the moderate overall sales growth year over year, a shift from debit card to credit card usage indicates stronger consumer confidence, according to 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.”
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