Inflation Suspected to Have Influenced Small Year-over-Year Increases
RANCHO CUCAMONGA, California - Reflecting the slowdown in consumer spending nationally, Amazon Prime Day stimulated a small uptick in online purchasing over the two-day shopping holiday, according to credit union-issued card data analyzed by Co-op Solutions.
The number of debit transactions made on Amazon was actually down .05 percent on Day 1 of Amazon Prime Day, and up just .62 percent on Day 2 (July 12-13, 2022, compared to June 20-21, 2021). Past year-over-year increases in Amazon Prime Day debit purchases within the Co-op portfolio have been as high as 271 percent. That result was experienced in 2020 when COVID stimulus funds and pre-holiday timing sparked unprecedented volume. (2020 Amazon Prime Day also took place on October 13-14 versus the more typical summer months.)
“In terms of purchase amounts, Prime Day online shopping sales figures are less impressive when you consider inflation’s influence on the value of today’s dollar,” said Beth Phillips, Director of Strategic Portfolio Growth for Co-op Solutions. “Co-op’s transaction data shows disproportionate growth in money spent online versus goods purchased online during the two-day event.”
Inflation’s Impact on Payments Behaviors
Common household and food purchases, especially, are significantly more expensive than a year ago. June 2022’s Consumer Price Index inflation report showed the biggest yearly increase in prices since November 1981.
Higher prices may also explain the return to credit card spending seen within Co-op transaction data. Prime Day credit purchases showed gains of 12.97 and 14.12 percent on Day 1 and Day 2, respectively. At the same time, dollars spent rose 17 percent and 25 percent on Days 1 and 2 – “which shows us how inflation continues to rear its head,” said Phillips.
“Credit outperformed debit during the 2022 Amazon Prime Day, by more than double on each day,” said Phillips. “This marks a comeback of credit as the payment method of choice over last year’s declines. This is not surprising, as we’re seeing credit outperform debit in most categories recently, particularly with online and more costly purchases. Now is the time for credit unions to lean in on their cardholder experiences strategies to capture more of the rebounding volume.”
Experts Monitoring Possible E-Commerce Burnout
While inflation seems to have impacted online spending, e-commerce burnout is another possible trend. A June 2022 survey of 2,000 working-age consumers found 25 percent spent less money online in the last six months than they did in comparable periods during the pandemic. According to data from Salesforce, global online sales for non-Amazon sites during this year’s Prime Day were down 12 percent compared to Prime Day 2021. Co-op transaction data, too, shows only slight gains in non-Amazon online purchases, at just 2.25 percent and 6.82 percent across Day 1 and Day 2 of the shopping event.
“Since the pandemic, we’ve seen consumers get even more comfortable stitching together fintechs and mainstream financial institutions to curate their own mix of financial services,” said Phillips. “The same appears to be true when it comes to their shopping, which requires some creativity now to stick within a budget. Regardless of where the transaction is happening – be it on Amazon, another marketplace site or e-tailer, on the phone, between friends or over the counter – members expect it to be safe, smooth and seamlessly connected to their overall financial picture.”
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