Merchants enjoy increased consumer confidence, spending in January
February 12, 2013

Consumer spending is a critical component of the merchant services industry, and decreased confidence among the nation's population negatively affected the bottom lines of many retailers across the nation following the Great Recession. However, in the final months of 2012, consumer confidence and spending appeared to rebound, while economists believe that this trend might sustain throughout the coming months.

Small and medium-sized business (SMBs) owners should consider adopting integrated payment systems that help streamline the customer experience for maximum convenience and efficiency. With more shoppers returning to stores, merchants stand to enjoy higher revenues as long as they use the right tools and practices, including loyalty and gift card programs.

Confidence on the rise
Bloomberg recently reported that consumer confidence increased for the first time since the beginning of the year in the week ending on February 3. According to the news provider, the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index increased to minus 36.3, while other data indicated that there were fewer claims for unemployment benefits during that same period.

As employment prospects continue to improve, so too have sales at a variety of retailers. For example, the source cited several big box retailers' performance statements from January, which indicated that consumers sustained strong spending figures in the first month of the year, which has been extremely uncommon since the economic fallout.

Further, Bloomberg explained that one report indicated same-store sales increased 4.5 percent for more than 20 companies in January compared to the same period the year prior. This illustrates the importance of cultivating strong brand strategies that integrate loyalty programs with payment processing capabilities to engage consumers more effectively.

Finally, the news provider cited data from the Commerce Department which revealed that consumers increased spending at an annual rate of 2.2 percent in the final quarter of 2012. 

Spending does follow
The Washington Post recently explained that despite a higher payroll tax and other issues, consumers continued to spend more in January.  According to the news provider, a study from the International Council of Shopping Centers found that retailers who have been in operation for at least one year increased sales by 5 percent last month.

Merchants can capitalize on this increased consumer confidence and spending through the use of integrated payment systems. The ability to accept credit card payments through a variety of platforms and incorporation of loyalty programs can help build stronger brand reputations. 


Nexus: G-WEBCD3