Consumer Payment Card News

Holiday Blues

The 2000 holiday shopping season did not a happy Santa make. While Internet shopping and credit card usage enjoyed their best year ever, overall the biggest shopping season of the year was a bust. Some major retailers are folding up their tents and many online retailers are pulling the plug. Nevertheless a new study from Goldman Sachs/PC Data shows that online holiday shopping peaked during the week of Dec. 17th and doubled last year’s figures. VISA reports that its holiday transaction volume peaked on Friday, Dec. 22 with total volume, for both online and offline transactions, surpassing $3.8 billion, a 12.5% increase over last year’s busiest day. But the projected 4%-6% increase in overall consumer spending failed to materialize. Data from TeleCheck shows that same-store retail sales rose a modest 2.4% over last year during the first twenty-four days of holiday shopping. While online sales soared this year, research from Robertson Stephens found that customer satisfaction levels fell in eight of the ten categories surveyed as respondents noted slightly increased frustration with almost every aspect of online shopping during the 2000 holiday shopping season. In particular, the mass-market retailers who have clearly been successful in driving traffic to their online stores have not been as successful in delivering enjoyable customer experiences. Traditional retailers, including Walmart, Target and JCPenney, have received below average ratings across every category, and as a result, the overall customer satisfaction and likelihood to buy again metrics of traditional retailers are dropping rapidly.

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