First Data Corporation, a provider of payments-processing and electronic-commerce solutions, has released its First Data SpendTrend analysis for Thanksgiving/Black Friday 2013 compared to Thanksgiving/Black Friday 2012. SpendTrend tracks same-store consumer spending by credit, signature debit, PIN debit, EBT, closed-loop prepaid cards and checks at U.S. merchant locations.

Earlier store openings lead to strong retail spending growth

Black Friday lost some of its luster as retailers opened their doors earlier this year in order to vie for a piece of the holiday spending pie, especially with this year’s shorter-than-usual window between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Year-over-year retail dollar volume growth during Thanksgiving and Black Friday was strong at 9.0 percent, and a significant increase compared to last year’s growth of 5.6 percent. Most of the 9.0 percent retail spending growth was driven by shopping on Thanksgiving as opposed to Black Friday; with 3.4 percent growth on Black Friday.

The growth was also supported by the cold and dry weather across most of the nation, which attracted retail foot traffic for seasonal merchandise and offered consumers perfect holiday shopping weather. The Electronics sub-category saw a big jump with an increase of 9.1 percent, and Sporting Goods, Hobby, Book and Music Stores was the top performer with growth of 27.3 percent. 

Average ticket and transaction growth spiked as consumers opened their wallets

Retail average ticket growth was healthy and strong at 3.8 percent versus last year’s growth of 1.9 percent as consumers opened their wallets and spent more per visit while also focusing on bigger-ticket items. Overall transaction growth was 4.9 percent during the two-day period, and most of that growth again was driven by shopper foot-traffic on Thanksgiving; with Black Friday transaction growth at 2.2 percent.  Similar to trends seen during rest of the year, shopping on credit cards experienced strong growth at 8.8 percent.

“In addition to promotions and early openings, we saw many retailers make it even easier for consumers to shop by providing a seamless integration of in-store, online and mobile initiatives that allowed shoppers to buy products wherever and whenever,” said Krish Mantripragada, SVP, Information and Analytics Solutions, First Data. “While the start of the holiday spending season was robust, merchants will continue to monitor shoppers to see if they can sustain the spending growth through the holiday season.”

Read more about consumer behavior.

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