Now that 2014 is in the rear-view, we can take a closer look at how we fared in terms of credit card sales in December, and where that left us for total sales in 2014. Wind River’s merchant portfolio saw volume increase 11.1% over December of last year with 63% of Wind River Clients experiencing more credit card sales. Some of the biggest gainers in December were merchants in the Health Insurance and Travel Industries whereas those in the Business Services Industries saw the smallest gain in credit card sales for December.

So how does our portfolio compare to overall spending for December and 2014? The U.S. Commerce Department announced last Wednesday that spending fell a seasonally adjusted 0.9% from November to December, the largest drop since January, but 2014 as a whole was up compared to 2013 spending. With gas prices lower than they’ve been in years and the job market on the rise, some are perplexed on why spending declined from November to December this past year.

Analysts are pointing to an array of different factors for the drop. Some say the numbers do not account for the heavy holiday discounting, which lowers the dollar value of sales. Others point to the holiday shopping season being stretched at both ends. Many stores launched the holiday season as early as October and even pulled forward Black Friday promotions days before the traditional Thanksgiving weekend. Some analysts point to spending trends in general and how they are changing as consumers are more likely to spend toward experiences like eating at restaurants and travel. Also younger Americans in particular are spending more on mobile data services and gift cards than on goods.

So with those different analysts’ perspectives, where do you predict spending will go in 2015? Let’s hope wherever consumers direct their future spending, they spend some time at your businesses. We also realize that credit cards are only part of the overall picture of your total sales, and we look forward to your feedback on how we can help improve your payment environment in 2015. If you ever have any questions on your program or just want to discuss this blog, give us a call at 1-800-704-7253, Option #4 to speak to a Relationship Manager.