First Data Corp. SpendTrend analysis for Oct. 31 through Dec. 2. charted a dollar volume growth of 4.4 percent — a downturn from October growth of 6.8 percent. Meanwhile prepaids took an 8.9 year-over-year jump as a preferred payment method, and checks continued their long, slow decline, dropping 4.9 percent year-over-year.
Still, overall spending growth remained positive on a year-over-year basis, as it has throughout 2013, First Data said.
Retail growth cooled in November in spite of strong spending growth during Thanksgiving and Black Friday. There were fewer holiday shopping days this November after Thanksgiving versus last year, the impact of which was felt across most merchant categories.
Overall retail spending growth in November was 1.3 percent — a significant step down from October's 5.6 percent spending growth. Shoppers pulled back on retail spending for most of the month in anticipation of holiday deals at the end of November. Average ticket growth was -0.3 percent in November versus October's growth 0.5 percent.
"Although spending growth increased on a year-over-year basis, the growth slowed on a sequential basis as consumers were more modest in their purchases throughout the month as they prepared for the holiday shopping season," said Krish Mantripragada, SVP of information and analytics solutions at First Data. "We definitely see that consumers are more confident and have enjoyed stronger income growth in 2013 compared to 2012. This should encourage shoppers to open up their wallets as the holiday season progresses."
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