Press Release

No Government Data? MasterCard Has You Covered With Consumer Spending Report

SpendingPulse Provides Much-Needed View into Consumer Spending; September Economic Report Shows Retail Sales Slow to 3% YOY Growth

July Apparel Numbers Indicate Subdued Back-to-School Shopping Season

To tweet this news, copy and paste http://bit.ly/MCA_131010_PR to your Twitter handle with the hashtags #Shutdown and #RetailSales

PURCHASE, NY
October 10, 2013

While the government shutdown may delay the release of important monthly economic news and indicators such as the Consumer Confidence and Retail Spending reports, there's no need to play guessing games about the state of consumer spending. The latest SpendingPulse report released today by MasterCard Advisors provides a much-needed glimpse into consumer spending trends from September. According to the report, total U.S. retail sales continued to weaken after peaking at 4.7 percent in June of this year. September retail sales were up only 3 percent year-over-year, which was attributed to a significant drop-off in gasoline spending and no major growth in other sectors.

"The government shutdown could impact businesses and consumers in so many ways - fortunately, our monthly SpendingPulse report can help fill a critical void for companies that depend on having an accurate and timely view of consumer spending," said Sarah Quinlan, Senior Vice President, Market Insights for MasterCard Advisors. "Our insights into consumer spending have always been released ahead of the government figures with 99.86 percent correlation to the Commerce Department. As retailers head into the busy holiday shopping season, we will continue to be a reliable source for companies to help guide their business decisions."

Other notable economic trends and news from the September report include:

  • Shoppers Find Retail Therapy Online — While gas demand is down, e-Commerce sales were up by double digits over last year, an indication that shoppers are finding deals online instead of driving to local stores.

  • Clothing and Accessories Take a Hit — The Apparel and Department Store categories were especially hit hard in September, continued evidence that consumers are sacrificing vanity for necessity.

  • Sales of Home Goods Slip — Consumers cut back spending on Hardware and Furniture & Furnishings in September. If the government shut down continues, impacts to the housing recovery may continue to drag down these sectors for months to come.

  • Travel Bounces Back — The Travel sector showed a bit of growth in September, possibly a hint of what's to come for the economy as consumers make plans for the holidays.

"The 'feel-good factor' is hugely important to driving retail sales - when people feel good, they like to shop," said Quinlan. "There are some definite bright spots in this month's SpendingPulse report, but overall, consumers remained cautious and continued to search for the best deals, which it seems they often found online. If the government shutdown continues to drag on, it could take a toll on already wary consumers. We will be keeping an eye on how consumers are adjusting their spending habits as our government leaders work to resolve these issues."

About MasterCard SpendingPulse
A macro-economic indicator, MasterCard SpendingPulse reports on national retail sales and is based on aggregate sales activity in the MasterCard payments network, coupled with estimates for all other payment forms, including cash and check. MasterCard SpendingPulse reports and content, including estimated forecasts of spending trends, do not in any way contain, reflect or relate to actual MasterCard operational or financial performance, or specific payment-card-issuer data. MasterCard Advisors produces monthly SpendingPulse reports that are available to subscribers in the US, UK, Canada and Brazil, and are delivered ahead of retail spending figures provided by other sources.

About MasterCard Advisors
MasterCard Advisors, the professional services arm of MasterCard Worldwide, provides clients around the world with insights and solutions that drive business impact and ROI. The company uses advanced analytics and deep payments expertise to translate data into actionable behavioral insights and customized services. With analyses based on more than 80 billion anonymous transactions processed in 210 countries worldwide, the company leverages aggregated information and a consultative approach to help financial institutions, merchants, media companies, governments and other organizations grow their businesses. For more information, go to www.mastercardadvisors.com.

About MasterCard
MasterCard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a global payments and technology company. It operates the world's fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard's products and solutions make everyday commerce activities -- such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances -- easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardNews, join the discussion on the Cashless Conversations Blog and subscribe for the latest news.

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