Summertime, and the spending is easy … er.
So says First Data in its latest SpendTrend report, based on post-of-sale purchases throughout its network in July. Overall, dollar volume growth hit 3.9%, versus 3% in June.
Overall retail spending growth hit its strongest level in a year as almost every retail category tracked by SpendTrend saw improvement. First Data credited much of the spending increase in the retail categories to people being in vacation mode—and the fact that the job market is improving.
Contributing to the growth seen, especially, was spending on hotel and travel. The first rose 7.9% over July 2013 and the second by 4.6%. Growth in food services and drinking, at 4.4%, and food and beverage stores, at 5.3%, also contributed to the overall improvement.
“Consumers are once again motivated to travel, while those who opted for ‘staycations’ increased spending in home-related categories,” said Krish Mantripragada, First Data’s senior vice-president, information and analytics solutions.
The First Data official added that the company anticipates that back-to-school sales and state-level sales tax holidays should spur spending growth in August.
The July report came after First Data had observed, in making its June report: “Like a toddler balancing on newly discovered, yet slightly rubbery legs, consumer spending tottered a bit in June, but remained on its feet, posed to tackle its next steps forward.”
SpendTrend tracks actual spending, by measuring same-store point-of-sale data by credit, signature debit, PIN debit, EBT, closed-loop prepaid cards, and checks at nearly 4 million U.S. merchant locations served by First Data. Growth rates quoted in SpendTrend reports are based on year-over-year monthly comparisons (August 2013 to August 2014).