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Consumer Confidence Creates Growth in July

July’s credit card sales volume growth of 9.1% was a welcome and healthy improvement over last year’s July volume. With this volume uptick, Wind River’s portfolio of over 3,500 merchants (which processed over $1.5 Billion in volume last year) continues the trend of year-over-year sales increase of 4.6% in June to 5.1% through the end of July.

Across the board, most of our clients (63%) shared in this positive credit card sales growth year-over-year, outweighing the number of clients who have not seen growth yet this year. Of interest, I found the rise in spending has been driven strongly by industries such as hotel and restaurants where dollar volume growth was 10.5% as more consumers traveled for vacation this summer. Keeping watch on the cross currents in the news, many reports state overall Retail Sales in July have stalled. Reports from USA Today state that sales fell at department stores, home furnishings stores, electronics and appliance stores as well as Internet Retailers. Still, there was growth in the retail categories of building materials, food and beverage, health and personal care, clothing and restaurants creating the ever-present question of, what direction is our economy going?

Regardless of the overall trend of the economy, according to BizTimes Milwaukee, U.S. consumer confidence jumped to its highest level in almost seven years in July at 90.9, a sharp increase from 85.2 in June. Analysts believe this positive consumer assessment may be due to a stronger job market and improving employment reports. Consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, and healthy growth there is critical in preparing economists’ forecasts for a stronger economy in the second half of 2014.

We realize that credit cards are only part of the overall picture of your total sales. With that said, we do hope the economy is picking up steam as we head into the third quarter. We look forward to rolling out a new online reporting package in the months ahead that will provide more personalized and specific insight into these volume trends. Stay tuned for more details on that in a later blog!

As always, Wind River is committed to bringing our clients more information to allow you to manage your credit card expense line. Let me know if you find this information helpful or interesting. You can contact me directly at mcourchane@windriverfinancial.com or call our friendly Relationship Managers at 1-800-704-7253, Option #4.

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