U.S. consumer spending in April was up 4.1 percent from the previous year, driven by warmer weather and more same-store foot traffic, according to First Data Corp.’s SpendTrend analysis. The finding represents a jump from 3.1 percent year-over-year growth in March.
SpendTrend tracks same-store point-of-sale data by credit, signature debit, PIN debit, EBT, closed-loop prepaid cards and checks from the nearly 4 million merchant locations First Data services. The latest data compares April 1 through April 30 this year with April 2 through May 1, 2013.
Transaction growth of 3.5 percent was up compared with March’s 2.7 percent growth. Higher gas prices, an uptick in job creation and a lift in consumer confidence, also supported the growth, First Data said.
Gas station-spending growth of 3.3 percent marked the highest growth since July 2013, as gas prices eclipsed last year’s levels. Gas station average-ticket growth in April was 0.4 percent versus minus-4.1 percent in March, the highest growth in nine months, according to the processor.
Retail-spending and transaction growth of 1.3 percent and 2.4 percent respectively gained traction versus March’s growth of minus-0.5 percent and minus-1.2 percent respectively, as the Easter shift pushed holiday retail purchases and related foot traffic into April.
Spending growth at clothing and accessories stores and health and personal care stores of 1.2 percent and 0.2 percent respectively spiked versus last month’s growth of minus-5 percent and minus-2.4 percent respectfully, as shoppers visited such merchants for candy, Easter-themed toys and spring apparel. Dollar-volume growth of 3.6 percent at building material and supply stores slowed slightly from March’s growth of 4.3 percent but remained healthy as higher temperatures encouraged spending on garden, home construction and outdoor items, First Data said.
Average ticket growth of 0.5 percent was up from March’s growth of 0.3 percent, the strongest growth in the past 12 months and driven by an increase in gas and food costs, the processor said. Average ticket growth of 1.8 percent was seen in food and beverage stores, the highest growth in more than a year.
April YOY Sales Volume Growth CHANGE
|Signature Debit||+4.5 percent|
|PIN Debit||+4.1 percent|
Note: All transactions are same-store growth.
Source: First Data Corp.
Meanwhile, Bankrate.com’s monthly Financial Security Index dipped in May for the second consecutive month from the previous month, to 98.7 from 100.5 in April. Readings below 100 indicate lower financial security than the previous year.
Net worth is the strongest indicator now in terms of financial security, as one in six Americans last month reported a lower net worth that a year earlier. “With rising gas prices and stock markets near record highs, it’s not surprising to see that net worth is the strongest component of Americans’ financial security,” Greg McBride, Bankrate.com chief financial analyst, said in the index announcement.