Holiday shopping rush begins as shoppers get a slow start in November 2012

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TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – Dec. 20, 2012) –Editors Note: There is an image associated with this press release.

Last minute Canadian shoppers may have a list, but they are running out of time to check it twice, according to the latest MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse economic insights. Canadians were off to a slow start on their holiday shopping with November 2012 retail sales seeing a 1.3 per cent year-over-year growth totaling $30.5 billion, which is flat compared to the 5.3 per cent year-over-year growth rate seen in October 2012.

But a three-year analysis of holiday shopping trends between October 28 and December 29 from 2009 to 2011 indicates that the real mall dash begins closer to the last few days of the holiday countdown. Historically, the top three busiest holiday shopping days fell within the last week of the holiday shopping crunch on December 20, 21 and 22.

Heading into the final holiday shopping weekend, this is good news for Canadian department stores, which experienced only a 1.3 per cent year-over-year growth in November 2012 sales after posting four consecutive months of year-over-year sales growth above six per cent.

“Many Canadians may have gotten an early start with Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year, but it’s still a very young phenomenon in Canada,” said Richard McLaughlin, Senior Vice-President of Global Products and Solutions, MasterCard Worldwide. “There will always be last minute shoppers making the mad dash to get the perfect gift. But a combination of growing eCommerce and Black Friday sales in Canada is likely to contribute to more growth in pre-holiday sales in future years.”

Canadians may have waited until the last minute, but they braved long holiday line-ups in stores to make sure they had their special gifts in time for Christmas. According to the three-year trend analysis, online transactions in Canada peaked the second week of December, but slowed dramatically closer to the holidays. However, American shoppers waited until the last cyber second with heaviest eCommerce transactions five to 14 days before Christmas.

“Milestone shopping days like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Boxing Day have made a significant impact on retail spending. Increasingly, we see retailers using “door buster” sales to boost spending on Black Friday and Boxing Day, as well as incentives such as free shipping during Cyber Monday week. These discounts and incentives have contributed to the milestone days becoming an even more critical part of the holiday season both for consumers and retailers,” said Michael McNamara, Vice-President of Research and Analysis for MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse.

In November 2012, e-Commerce sales continued to see positive growth above the 20 per cent threshold for the 11th consecutive month, posting at a rate of 26.4 per cent growth compared to the same period in 2011.

Other comparative MasterCard Spending Pulse insights from the nine-week holiday spending period from 2009 to 2011 include:

  • Total share of wallet during the holiday spending season typically hovers close to 20 per cent of total annual retail spend in both Canada and the U.S.
  • Online electronics purchases on Boxing Day in Canada surpassed pre-holiday and Black Friday spending at an average of nine per cent of total holiday spend.
  • Boxing Day has historically been one of the top 10 holiday shopping days in Canada, while it is one of the lightest days in the U.S.
  • The week of Cyber Monday contributed, on average, 16 per cent to total holiday spend in Canada versus 15 per cent in the U.S. during the same period.

SpendingPulse reports are available in Canada on a monthly subscription basis, and tracks month-over-month and year-over-year spending patterns across a variety of sectors. The consumer spending insights help businesses better understand the economic environment in which they operate to make informed business decisions.

About MasterCard

MasterCard (NYSE:MA), 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.

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 survey-based estimates for certain other payment forms, including cash and cheque. MasterCard SpendingPulse does not represent MasterCard financial performance. SpendingPulse is provided by MasterCardAdvisors, the professional services arm of MasterCard International Incorporated. 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.

About MasterCard Advisors

As the professional services arm of MasterCard Worldwide, MasterCard Advisors is uniquely qualified to provide clients with insights and solutions that drive tangible impact and financial gain. MasterCard Advisors provides payments consulting, information, analytics, and customized services that deliver value to its customers. In doing so, the company uses information to create products and services in which privacy and security are fundamental to their design. A technology company that is an electronic payments leader, MasterCard is committed to the responsible use of information and pledges strong privacy protection for the transaction data the company processes. Its information management practices support the company’s mission to make payments safe, simple and smart. For more information, click here.

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