November Outpaced December in Card Spending, First Data Says
Credit unions and other card issuers likely got most of their holiday spending boost early last year, according to card processor First Data.
The firm's SpendTrend survey for December found spending actually slowed in December compared to November and cited consumers' desires for earlier bargains for the shift in their usual holiday spending pattern.
"Card spending growth slowed in December compared to November," said Silvio Tavares, senior vice president and division manager of First Data Information and Analytics Services "Consumers decided to spend earlier in the holiday season this year in order to take advantage of retailer discounts."
The firm reported that average tickets fell -1.0% in December, compared to November's increased growth of 0.4%. Consumers were willing to increase their average ticket size in November, but returned to their more cautious ways in December, the processor said.
Consumers used their credit cards to make holiday purchases in November, but reigned in credit spending in December, the firm said, adding that credit transaction growth was 3.5%, a decline from November's growth of 5.4%. Credit dollar volume growth also slowed to 4.4% from November's growth of 8.0%.
"With consumers hesitant to incur new debt, revolving credit balances have declined steadily during the past two years," First Data added.