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Thanksgiving Weekend: E-Commerce is No. 2 Visa Category

E-commerce shone over Thanksgiving Weekend, performing only second to the quick service restaurant category in the Visa USA SpendTrak report for Black Friday and the day after.

The payments franchise reported 7.78 million e-commerce transactions of $544 million for the two days, up 32.1 percent from last year. QSR transactions on Visa were up 62.4 percent to $100 million for the two days as chains like McDonald’s and Burger King take cards as well as cash.

“I think we’re seeing that around the holidays people are getting more demands on their time and finding it quicker and easier to shop online and find the best deals online,” said Kenny Thomas, director of corporate relations at Visa USA, San Francisco.

The number of e-commerce transactions using Visa consumer credit and debit cards, excluding its Interlink brand, was up 26.8 percent this year over 2004. The franchise registered e-commerce transactions of $9.21 billion in the Oct. 31-Nov. 26 timeframe, with an average ticket of $69.97.

E-commerce’s performance on Black Friday itself – again second to QSR’s 62.9 percent increase – was outstanding when compared with other retail segments.

Sales volume that day was up 33.2 percent from last year to $297 million. The number of transactions rose 27.7 percent to 4.03 million. And sales for the Oct. 31-Nov. 25 period amounted to $8.97 billion, with an average ticket of $73.57.

Even e-commerce sales on Thanksgiving Day via Visa cards was up 41.4 percent to $205 million, proving that consumers shopped in between meals and visits or after. The number of transactions was estimated at 3.16 million, up 35.4 percent from the previous year.

Across all segments, Visa reported Nov. 25-26 sales volume of $7.07 billion, up 15 percent from the year-ago period, and the number of transactions rose 13.5 percent to 122.93 million. It reported Oct. 31-Nov. 26 transactions of $85.93 billion, with an average ticket of $57.49.

Visa tracks sales across retail segments like discount/mass/drugstores, department stores/apparel, specialty retail/gift/hobby, home and garden and personal entertainment. Sales were up in all categories.

Mail and phone down. The only category where card transactions were down is what Visa calls mail and phone order. U.S. sales on Nov. 25-26 this year fell 4.4 percent to $277 million. Even the number of transactions, at 3.32 million, was down 16.4 percent from last year.

On Black Friday, consumers charged $152 million for mail and phone orders, a 7.1 percent drop from the previous year. The number of transactions for that day fell 22.1 percent to 1.77 million.

Cardholders found time on Thanksgiving Day to charge $86 million on Visa, a 0.9 percent drop from the previous year. The franchise reported 1.16 million transactions, which is a 10 percent drop from the year-ago period.

Mail and phone order sales during Oct. 31-Nov. 26 rung up on Visa cards totaled $4.89 billion, with an average ticket of $83.38 and a 7.4 percent share of total retail sales across all channels.

Thomas has an explanation for the dip in mail and phone order transactions using Visa cards.

“That’s actually a migration from sales channel versus a decrease in spending,” Thomas said. “It simply means those transactions are being conducted in a different way.”

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