SOURCE: MasterCard Advisors

December 17, 2007 11:45 ET

MasterCard SpendingPulse™ Mid-Holiday Season Update Shows Most Industry Segments Post Modest Increase Over Same Period 2006

PURCHASE, NY--(Marketwire - December 17, 2007) - MasterCard Advisors today announced its SpendingPulse Mid-Season Holiday Shopping Update. The data in this special holiday report represents comparisons of the 20 days of the shopping season compared to the same period in 2006. The shopping season began on Black Friday.

"Not surprisingly, Black Friday's sales came in so strong that the pace was clearly not sustainable. The sectors have settled into some clear winners as well as some under performers. We are watching closely to see what the last 10 days bring," noted Michael McNamara, vice president of research and analysis for MasterCard Advisors.

SpendingPulse analyzed the Electronics, Specialty (Apparel), eCommerce and Luxury sectors. Here are the highlights:

Regional performance:

The Midwest portions of the country were negatively impacted by disruptive weather that may have prevented shoppers from reaching stores in early December. The ice storm in the North Central portion of the country contributed to a 0.4% decline in specialty retail sales for that region compared to the first half of the 2006 season. We will have to watch for disruptive weather in key areas especially on Thursdays-Saturdays as we come down the stretch run of the season.


Overall specialty apparel was up 0.5%. Women's apparel was down 5.7% while men's apparel was up 4.5%.

For the first 20 days of the holiday shopping season, specialty retailers showed a 1.1% decrease in sales over the same period in 2006. Poor weekend weather, first in the Mid-Atlantic and then in the Central portion of the country, cooled a hot start to the season. Sales throughout the first weekend of the season were up 5.7%.

Shopping volumes were most affected by the weather (down 2.6%) but strong transaction pricing (+1.5%) muted the decline.


Electronics sales opened the season with a sales growth surge on Black Friday, but sales growth has slowed down in the first two weeks of December. In the 20 days following Thanksgiving, consumer spending on electronics grew by 5.8% over the same period a year ago. This pace is a pronounced slowdown from the 15% growth the sector saw during the weekend following Black Friday.


eCommerce sales experienced extraordinary growth (+29.8%) over the first 20 days of the season. Much of the increase can be attributed to growth in high-end items, with the average ticket price up 10% from 2006..


Total Luxury goods sales stumbled in December, helping shrink sales in the 20 days following Thanksgiving by 3.7% from the same period a year ago. However, some of the downturn is due to seasonal cycles. One key factor is that luxury goods are dominated by jewelry sales. These experience a holiday rush only in the last two weeks of the season. Indeed, extracting jewelry from the equation, luxury goods sales are actually up by 10.8% year-to-year so far this holiday season.

Influence of Gasoline Prices on Overall Spending

The average cost of a gallon of gasoline is up by about 32% over the same period in 2006. Notes Michael McNamara, "Our spending data suggests that high gas prices and oil costs have had an impact on discretionary spending."

About SpendingPulse

A macro-economic indicator, 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 does not represent MasterCard financial performance. SpendingPulse is provided by MasterCard Advisors, the professional services arm of MasterCard Worldwide.

About MasterCard Advisors

MasterCard Advisors, LLC, the professional services arm of MasterCard Worldwide, provides payments-focused consulting, information and outsourcing services to financial institutions and merchants worldwide. With its unparalleled category expertise, deep understanding of customer needs, and successful track record in addressing complex challenges throughout the payments lifecycle, MasterCard Advisors delivers customized end-to-end solutions that maximize the value of clients' cards and payments businesses. MasterCard Advisors shares the goals and vision of its clients, and works in partnership with them to deliver actionable insights that drive tangible impact and financial gain. For more information, go to

About MasterCard Worldwide

MasterCard Worldwide advances global commerce by providing a critical economic link between financial institutions, businesses, cardholders and merchants worldwide. As a franchisor, processor and advisor, MasterCard develops and markets payment solutions, processes close to 16 billion payments each year, and provides industry-leading analysis and consulting services to financial institution customers and merchants. Through its family of brands, including MasterCard®, Maestro® and Cirrus®, MasterCard Worldwide serves consumers and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. For more information, go to

Contact Information

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    MasterCard Worldwide
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