First Data Corp. released its SpendTrend analysis for July 2-30, compared with July 3-31, 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.

Highlights:

    •    Card Spending and Transaction Growth On Upward Trend. July’s dollar volume growth of 7.7% marked a 12-month high and an uptick from June’s growth of 7.1%. The strong growth mostly was due to the sharp run-up in gas prices. Gas Station dollar volume growth was 6.9%, the largest growth since October 2012, and a jump from last month’s growth of 3.5%. Meanwhile, overall transaction growth of 6.5% hit an eleven-month high as the long Independence Day weekend and warm and dry weather across much of the country were strong catalysts for the pickup in shopper foot-traffic.

    •    Average Ticket Growth Crept Up. Average ticket growth of 1.1% marked a slight uptick compared to June’s growth of 1.0%. The primary driver of the growth was the increase in average tickets at Gas Stations and Hotel and Travel merchants. Gas Station average ticket growth of 1.0% was the highest growth since October 2012. On the flip side, Retail average ticket growth of 1.0% fell significantly from last month’s growth and reached the lowest growth in ten-months as retailers engaged in clearance promotions.

    •    Retail Spending Growth Retreated. Retail dollar volume growth of 4.4% in July was a slowdown compared to June’s growth of 5.5% as retailers engaged in summer clearance discounting and higher year-over-year gas prices cut into discretionary budgets. Shoppers also pulled back on retail spending in light of the upcoming back-to-school shopping season and the state tax holidays in August. All retail subcategories saw lower year-over-year growth compared to last month with the exception of Electronics and Appliances which saw growth return to positive territory at 1.3%.

    •    PIN Debit Dollar Volume Growth Jumped As Shoppers Paid More At The Pump. PIN debit dollar volume growth spiked in July at 7.4% as segments such as Gas Stations, where consumers tend to utilize PIN debit cards, saw stronger year-over-year and sequential growth. Despite PIN debit’s strong performance, credit dollar volume growth continued to lead PIN and SIG debit for the seventh-consecutive month. July’s credit dollar volume growth of 8.1% remained healthy but slowed from last month’s growth of 8.8% as consumers cut back on discretionary spending.

“Despite higher year-over-year gas prices, consumer spending remains healthy and the recent pickup in employment, together with a strong housing recovery and stock market gains, should encourage more spending during the ever-important back-to-school shopping season,” said Krish Mantripragada, senior vice president, Information and Analytics Solutions at First Data. “Credit dollar volume growth continues to lead PIN and signature debit growth even though PIN debit growth spiked due to higher gas prices."

First Data is an electronic commerce and payment processing company.

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