2019 Holiday Shopping Results So Far: Members Spend More, Shift to Digital Channels

December 10, 2019 Co-op Solutions

The Thanksgiving holiday shopping weekend – Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday – has become the busiest time of year for U.S. retailers and consumers. This year nearly 190 million consumers shopped over the five day period, representing a 14 percent increase from last year.1

Credit union members closely followed this trend, according to our latest analysis of CO-OP Credit and Debit transactions over the holiday shopping weekend.  Credit cardholders spent an average of $323 over the five-day period, up more than 10 percent over last year’s average of $292. For their part, debit cardholders spent an average of $264 from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, an increase of nearly 17 percent (+16.8%) over the same period in 2018.

Knowing how and where members are spending during busy shopping periods like Thanksgiving Weekend is valuable intelligence to a credit union. For one, it helps you better understand your members, what they value and which channels they prefer to use. It can also help inspire ideas for customized marketing campaigns and promotions that help drive your credit and debit cards to the top of your members’ wallets.

Here were the key findings from our 2019 Thanksgiving Weekend Shopping Analysis:

1. Digital Continues to Rise – Continuing last year’s trend, digital channels saw a large percentage of spending activity, particularly on Cyber Monday. In fact, 27.9 percent of all credit card transactions and 15.7 percent of all debit transactions in the CO-OP portfolio occurred on digital channels this year. More importantly, members spent more online than in-person. For example, the average electronic transaction made with a credit card was $101.19, versus $83.46 for in-person credit transactions.

Key Takeaway: Getting your cards to the top of your members’ digital wallets is more important than ever. Unlike physical in-store transactions, often members are often paying online using whatever default card they have selected. Therefore, it is essential your card is the default payment method.

2. Members Increase Spend on Home Improvement & Fun Activities – Looming concerns about a recession didn’t seem to spook credit union members as we noticed an increase in discretionary spending on things like interior furnishing (9.9 percent) and recreational activities like going to the movies, bowling, etc. (16.72 percent). Interestingly, some of the usual category leaders like travel and clothing store sales saw a decline this year (20 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively).

Key Takeaway: Knowing what your members spent on can be helpful information for creating custom rewards offers like, for example, a spend-and-get campaign. Don’t assume member spending activity will follow larger economic trends – it is important to analyze your portfolio down to the category to see where you should be focusing your top-of-wallet strategy. (CO-OP’s SmartGrowth team can help you do that)

3. Small Business Saturday is a Winner – One pleasing trend we saw this year was that the number of transactions occurring on Small Business Saturday jumped nearly 10 percent. Credit union members spent more than $600,000 throughout the day; it was great to see members continuing to support small businesses in their local communities.

Key Takeaway: Small Business Saturday could be a big opportunity for your credit union to capture meaningful market share. Given the emphasis on supporting local communities, your credit union might consider connecting with local businesses to run targeted promotions that help incentivize members to use your cards when they shop.

Unleashing the Power of Data

The continued shift towards digital payments over the holiday shopping weekend is an encouraging sign for credit unions because ultimately it means better access to data about your members. Credit unions are driven by what’s best for their members, which makes it incredibly valuable to have the most granular intelligence possible. Rich, account-level data insights are the bread and butter to delivering the hyper-personalized, highly targeted payment experiences that more credit union members expect.


As we head into 2020, discover how CO-OP’s SmartGrowth Consulting Team can help you analyze your card portfolio and uncover hidden opportunities for growth.

And discover how to optimize your credit card offering with our latest whitepaper: “How to Succeed in the Credit Card Business: A Blueprint for Credit Unions”:


1 Source: National Retail Federation

The original article 2019 Holiday Shopping Results So Far: Members Spend More, Shift to Digital Channels can be found on Insight Vault.

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