Consumers were still shopping in April, though they were starting to look over their shoulders at rising gasoline prices, according to First Data's SpendTrend report. SpendTrend tracks same-store consumer spending by credit, signature debit, PIN debit, EBT cards and checks.
Overall year-over-year transaction and dollar volume growth held steady in April. Transaction growth was 6.7%, identical to March’s growth. Dollar volume growth was 8.0% versus 8.1% in March. However, excluding gasoline stations, April dollar volume growth was 6.7%. Rising gas prices and a late Easter contributed to the steady growth in April.
The processor found that consumers continued to spend in April, but they were “likely beginning to feel the effects of rising gasoline and food prices. As consumers refocus on value, general merchandise stores (including value retail) saw the largest increase in growth in seven months.” Year-over-year overall average tickets increased 1.3%, the same level as March. However, the impact of gasoline prices increased in April. Excluding gasoline stations, average tickets were up only 0.5%, compared to 0.7% in March, First Data said.
“April was a solid month for consumer spending but rising food and gasoline prices may be beginning to erode discretionary purchasing power,” said Silvio Tavares, senior vice president and division manager of First Data Information and Analytics Solutions.