Easter shift, warmer weather pushed consumer spending up in April.
First Data Corp., the global leader in payment technology and services solutions, has released its First Data SpendTrend analysis for April 1-30, 2014, compared to April 2, 2013 through May 1, 2013.
SpendTrend tracks same-store point-of-sale data by credit, signature debit, PIN debit, EBT, closed-loop prepaid cards and checks from nearly four million merchant locations serviced by First Data.
Spending growth of 4.1% gained momentum versus last month’s growth of 3.1%, driven by warmer weather as well as the Easter shift into April this year, which supported shopper foot traffic. Transaction growth of 3.5% was up compared to March’s 2.7% growth. Higher gas prices, an uptick in job creation and a lift in consumer confidence also supported the growth. Gas station spending growth of 3.3% marked the highest growth since July, 2013 as gas prices eclipsed last year’s levels.
Retail spending growth and transaction growth of 1.3% and 2.4% gained traction vs. March’s growth of -0.5% and -1.2% as the Easter shift pushed holiday retail purchases and related foot traffic into April.
Spending growth at Clothing & Accessories Stores and Health & Personal Care Stores of 1.2% and 0.2% spiked versus last month’s growth of -5.0% and -2.4% as shoppers visited these merchants for candy, Easter-themed toys and spring apparel. Dollar volume growth of 3.6% at Building Material & Supply Stores slowed slightly from last month’s growth of 4.3% but remained healthy as higher temperatures encouraged spending on garden, home construction and outdoor items.
Average ticket growth of 0.5% was up vs. March’s growth of 0.3%, the strongest growth in the past 12 months, driven by an increase in gas and food costs. Gas Station average ticket growth was 0.4% vs. -4.1% last month, the highest growth in nine months. Average ticket growth of 1.8% was seen in Food & Beverage Stores, the highest growth in over a year.
“Overall spending growth was strong and gained momentum over March as the Easter shift into April and the return of warmer weather encouraged consumers to get out and shop,” said Krish Mantripragada, senior vice president, information and analytics solutions, First Data. “Consumer confidence and job creation also bounced back, which put consumers in the mood to release their pent-up demand from the extended winter. We also saw debit spending growth continue to rise, due in large part to higher tax refund values and volumes through April.”
April Dollar Volume Growth CHANGE
Signature Debit +4.5%
PIN Debit +4.1%
Note: All transactions are same-store growth.
**Client information available to First Data has changed, and as a result, it has restated its March SpendTrend analysis. This reporting change does not directionally impact current overall spending trends.