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First Data: Consumer card spending growth robust in January

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Atlanta — A report released Tuesday by First Data Corp. found that dollar volume growth rebounded in January, improving to 6.2% versus 4% in December despite the payroll tax increase.

The First Data SpendTrend report, which tracks same-store consumer spending by credit, signature debit, PIN debit, EBT, closed-loop prepaid cards and checks at U.S. merchant locations, found that improved retail spending was a large contributor to the January growth.

Retailers experienced a healthy rebound in spending as consumers increased discretionary spending during the start of the year. Retail dollar volume growth was the highest growth seen since August 2012. Dollar volume growth in building material & garden equipment & supply dealers and sporting goods, hobby, book & music stores were key contributors to the retail growth.

Average ticket growth of 0.9%, an eight-month high, was a significant improvement versus December. Retail average tickets saw the highest growth seen in over a year as promotional activity by retailers curtailed and shoppers showed an increased propensity to spend more. Sporting goods, hobby, book & music stores in particular saw the largest average ticket growth.

“Consumers showed a willingness to spend despite an increase in payroll taxes. The growth was supported by a number of factors including the short-term resolution of the fiscal cliff scenario, growth in jobs, continued improvement in the housing market and the rising stock market,” said Rikard Bandebo, VP and economist, First Data. “However, merchants will undoubtedly keep a close eye on consumer sentiment in the coming months to determine if shoppers will maintain increased spending as the full impact of the payroll tax hike may not be felt until February or even later out.”

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Study: Dollar stores may benefit from increased payroll tax

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Chicago — A new Symphony Consulting survey found that the new 2% increase in payroll tax is causing a major shopping behavioral change among lower-income families.

A division of SymphonyIRI Group, Symphony Consulting revealed Monday that dollar stores may be the biggest winners in the battle for the lower-income spenders’ purchasing power.

“To date, shifts in shopper behavior are subtle, but patterns are emerging that deserve close and ongoing scrutiny,” said managing director of Symphony Consulting, Dr. Krishnakumar Davey. “Our initial analysis offers highly current data on shopper behavior that will form the basis for ongoing research into the impact of the payroll tax increase.”

The study found that while total dollar sales in food and beverages were nearly the same from the end of 2012 to the start of 2013, discretionary spending was down, private label spending was up and dollar stores were gaining a greater share of consumer spend, all possible outcomes of the higher tax.

The growth rate among middle-income shoppers decreased slightly (40 basis points). There was no significant change among high-income shoppers. Contradicting expectations, dollar sales growth among low-income shoppers increased, albeit by a small percentage (50 basis points). This could be attributed to increased in-home consumption versus eating out.

Dollar sales growth of several categories exhibited declines, including in snacks (down 230 basis points) and beverages, such as coffee and tea (2-110 basis points). Cooking ingredients and beverages, such as juices and drinks, on the other hand, showed growth. Despite across-the-board over-performance in the first four weeks of 2013, discretionary categories lagged total food and beverage in the last week of January 2013, with dollar sales growth of 1.9% compared with 2.5% for the category as a whole in the same period. This could be due to the end of month effect when households optimized their grocery spending as a result of shrinking wallets.

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Amazon, QVC, Apple lead in mobile satisfaction; Target among most improved

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Ann Arbor, Mich. — Amazon has extended its domination of e-retail into the mobile platform, according to the ForeSee Mobile Satisfaction Index: Holiday Retail Edition, released on Tuesday by ForeSee.

In a survey of more than 6,200 consumers collected during the peak holiday shopping season between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Amazon scored highest among 25 of the top mobile commerce companies.

On the 100-point scale, Amazon topped the list at 85, with Apple (83), and QVC (83) close behind. Rounding out the top five are NewEgg (80) and Victoria’s Secret (80). The retailers with the biggest improvements over time include Target (+5), Victoria’s Secret (+5), and Barnes & Noble (+4).

"The mobile platform is maturing much faster than the PC platform,” said Larry Freed, president and CEO, ForeSee. “We see it in the rate of consumer adoption, and fortunately we are seeing it in how well the top retailers are adapting to multichannel consumers who are embracing yet another powerful tool.”

The study investigated the role and impact of mobile on showrooming, revealing that while nearly 70% of survey respondents reported using a mobile phone while in a retail store during the 2012 holiday season, most of those consumers (62%) accessed that store’s site or app.

But the competitive threat of showrooming still exists, as 37% reported accessing a competitor’s site or app.

Other key findings include:

  • At the aggregate level, customers rate their traditional web experiences (79) very similarly to their mobile experiences (78). But at the individual company level, satisfaction varies between retailers’ websites and mobile sites.
  • More than half of respondents visited the company’s website as their first step in shopping experience (57%) and were highly satisfied with that interaction (80).
  • Only 6% reported visiting the company’s website, mobile site, or app via mobile phone as their first step while shopping, but they are a very satisfied group (80).
  • Customers are more satisfied with their mobile experience for retailers than with financial services. In a similar study of financial services mobile experience conducted in November, the average satisfaction score for the largest financial services companies’ mobile sites and apps scored 77, trailing retailers, which scored 78 in this report.

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S.Hance says:
Mar-12-2013 06:11 am

Apple will always be a great brand in terms of moobile phones and ipads,tablets and etc. They still got the heart of the other people to stick on their brand. - Peter F. Spittler

S.Hance says:
Mar-12-2013 06:11 am

Apple will always be a great brand in terms of moobile phones and ipads,tablets and etc. They still got the heart of the other people to stick on their brand. - Peter F. Spittler

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