First Data Notes Consumer Spending Surge
Consumer spending growth hit an 11-month high in July as consumers traveled on summer vacations, according to First Data’s SpendTrend, a monthly analysis of the previous month’s consumer spending activity across the payment processing firm’s channels.
The report issued Tuesday compared the period July 1-July 31, 2014, to July 2 –August 2, 2013.
The payments processor reported spending in hotel and travel rose by 7.9% and 4.6%, respectively. In addition, spending grew at food and beverage stores by 5.3%, and food service and drinking places grew by 4.4%, the report said.
First Data also reported overall retail spending growth was at its strongest levels in a year as nearly all retail categories turned in improved numbers. Led by categories such as building material/garden equipment and furniture/home furnishings, the growth suggests the impact of fewer foreclosures and increased construction. Still, consumers remained hesitant to make big ticket and non-essential purchase, First Data said.
“It is also notable that both credit spending growth, which was 6.2% in July, and credit transaction growth, at 7.5% this month, were up significantly over June growth results,” said Krish Mantripragada, SVP for information and analytics solutions at Atlanta-based First Data.
“That growth was driven by the categories we’ve detailed in this report, where credit is the preferred method of payment. Consumers are once again motivated to travel, while those who opted for ‘staycations’ increased spending in home-related categories. Looking ahead, we anticipate August’s back-to-school sales and state tax-free holidays should spur spending growth in related categories, Mantripragada said in the company’s announcement.
All payment channels except for checks saw growth this past July over the same period in 2013, First Data said. Credit card dollar volume rose 6.2%, signature debit transaction volume rose 0.4%, PIN debit transaction volume rose 3.9%, and prepaid card volume rose by 3.3%. Check dollar volume dropped by 5.7%.