DES MOINES, Iowa (12/6/12)--Card processors are still tallying consumers' spending for the holidays. The latest to report Black Friday and Thanksgiving week shopping data is The Members Group (TMG), which says its numbers match up with predicted increases in consumer spending for the holidays.
TMG's analysis of credit and debit card expenditures indicates that consumers began shopping earlier, with average spending increases beginning the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, and that they spent more this year.
The amount spent for debit cardholders during Thanksgiving week averaged about $130 this year, compared with about $120 for the same week last year. Credit cardholders increasing spending by $15--to $223 from the $208 they spent in 2011.
"Consumers hitting the stores a bit ahead of schedule may stem from earlier promotion of online Black Friday offers, not to mention brick-and-mortar stores keeping doors open on the holiday itself," said Georgann Smith, TMG's director of marketing and communications.
Black Friday data spotlights the consumer preference for credit when making larger purchases, Smith said. "For community financial institutions issuers, the key will be maintaining top-of-wallet status throughout the holiday season and beyond. And as more card offers hit mailboxes in 2013, the focus for these issuers must be on maintaining that competitive edge."
Although people spent more using credit than debit, the number of debit transactions outpaced credit on card-present transactions for TMG financial institution issuers.
On Black Friday, the number of card-present debit transactions was nearly 15% more than the total number of credit transactions. That was also true for Black Friday last year, TMG said.
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, which TMG said is a big spending day for its clients' cardholders, showed more activity this year. Total credit transactions for Nov. 21 were nearly identical to the transactions for Black Friday. The total number of debit transactions that Wednesday was nearly 5% higher than on Black Friday.
When shopping online, cardholders of TMG clients most often opted to pay with credit cards. Total card-not-present credit transactions were nearly 10% more than card-not-present debit transactions.
The behavior may reflect consumers heeding advice to use credit when they cybershop, said Karen Postma, TMG cards risk senior manager. "Many consumers understand there is a larger temporary financial impact when fraud occurs on their debit card vs. on their credit card," she added.
- Average card-not-present transaction amounts on Black Friday decreased by 3% for credit and 4% for debit, a possible sign of deeper online discounts.
- The Wednesday before Thanksgiving saw more card-not-present transactions than Black Friday, which TMG said could be a consequence of online retailer discounts earlier during the week.
- Cyber Monday led the total number of card-not-present transactions, with nearly double the amount that occurred on Black Friday.