Consumer Holiday Spending Up in 2016

Shoppers continue to gravitate online, with retail eCommerce transactions increasing 12% year-over-year.

First Data has released its Holiday 2016 SpendTrend report, which found that overall consumer spending growth increased 4.7%.

Whether using a PC, tablet or mobile device, Americans continued the recent trend of making their holiday purchases online as retail eCommerce transactions grew by 12%. Additionally, more than one-fifth (21.3%) of all holiday spending was conducted online, a substantial increase from 15.4% last year.

While overall spending was up year-over-year this holiday season, some retailers were left in the cold. Retail spending increased 3.6% year-over-year, but department stores and clothing & accessories retailers took a hit. Department stores, in particular, were down 4.8% overall while clothing and accessories saw modest growth of 0.1%. Women’s ready-to-wear retailers saw a decline of 3.7% in year-over-year growth. Electronics and appliances, on the other hand, saw significant growth this year, up 8.5% overall compared to being down 2.2% during the holidays last year.

“Consumers were actively spending this holiday season with overall growth up 4.7%. However, retail stores had mixed results, with some categories posting high growth rates while others lagged behind,” said Rishi Chhabra, vice president, information & analytics at First Data. “We continue to see a strong shift to online shopping and were impressed with the significant growth in eCommerce transactions. More and more, shoppers are opting to stay home to avoid the crowds and make purchases on their own time.”

Although eCommerce spending surged this year, retail brick and mortar growth was also up slightly, posting 1.6% year-over-year growth. That growth rate was primarily driven by spending in the West and Midwest regions of the U.S. The Southwest experienced a decline in growth rates as it was down 0.6% in retail spend.

All data referenced in the report is First Data proprietary transaction data and includes only actual card-based forms of payment. Nearly one million merchant locations across the United States were included in the analysis, which represent the number of stores open for business from Oct. 29, 2016 through Jan. 2, 2017 that have been serviced by First Data for at least 13 months. These locations include everything from mom-and-pop shops to large retailers, both brick-and-mortar and online.



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