U.S. Retail Sales Report Shows Record-Breaking Sales for Airlines and Lodging

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Purchase, NY (November, 25, 2013) – ‘Tis the season for holiday travel headaches. With airline and hotel prices on the rise, consumers may be feeling the pinch this year as they make plans to visit loved ones or book holiday getaways. MasterCard Advisors has released insights from its U.S. SpendingPulse holiday travel report, which showed in September and October that airlines recorded their strongest year-over-year growth since August 2012 as consumers pre-purchased holiday travel tickets.

However, SpendingPulse also showed that while the dollar amount of purchases has grown, the number of actual purchases made has declined for six straight months – evidence that sales growth has been driven by higher prices.

“One trend we saw this summer that I expect to continue into the holidays is the popularity of the ‘staycation’,” said Sarah Quinlan, Senior Vice President, Market Insights for MasterCard Advisors. “Keep in mind that SpendingPulse measures consumer travel at the time a ticket is purchased or hotel reservation is booked, not used. So, our insights are a leading indicator of consumers’ travel plans and their confidence in spending on discretionary items. While the end of the government shutdown seems to have eased some consumer concern for now, what we’re seeing so far points to holiday travelers driving instead of flying, and staying close to home.”

A more positive story is emerging for the Lodging industry, which also saw record-setting growth in September and October due to increases in both dollar spend and number of transactions. This is particularly promising for a sector that typically experiences a pre-holiday lull in October. Year-to-date, Lodging sales are up 4.5 percent compared to 2012.

“Another important factor in holiday travel is that gasoline prices are down when compared with earlier in the year, and this tends to benefit the lodging industry,” said Quinlan. “According to SpendingPulse, gasoline has been dragging down overall retail sales figures since August. As prices come down, we expect to see stronger growth in gasoline, which could also spur on consumer shopping in other retail sectors.”

For more SpendingPulse insights on holiday spending, join Sarah Quinlan for a free on-demand webinar.

About the MasterCard SpendingPulse Report 

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 estimates for all other payment forms, including cash and check. 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.  MasterCard Advisors produces monthly SpendingPulse reports that are available to subscribers in the US, UK, Canada and Brazil, and are delivered ahead of retail spending figures provided by other sources.

About MasterCard Advisors

MasterCard Advisors, the professional services arm of MasterCard, provides clients around the world with insights and solutions that drive business impact and ROI. The company uses advanced analytics and deep payments expertise to translate data into actionable behavioral insights and customized services. With analyses based on more than 80 billion anonymous transactions processed in 210 countries worldwide, the company leverages aggregated information and a consultative approach to help financial institutions, merchants, media companies, governments and other organizations grow their businesses. For more information, go to www.mastercardadvisors.com.

About MasterCard

MasterCard (NYSE: MA), is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate 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 Pioneers Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

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 Media Contact:

Marisa Grimes