ETA/TSG U.S. Spending Snapshot: Consumer Spending Via Electronic Payments Sees Growth in Q4 2018 Year-Over-Year

WASHINGTON, April 30, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Despite lower year-over-year gas prices and reduced year-over-year sales in certain merchant categories, overall spending growth via electronic payments like debit cards, credit cards and mobile payments saw a 4.8 percent increase year-over-year from the fourth quarter (Q4) 2017 to the fourth quarter (Q4) 2018, according to a new analysis from the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) and The Strawhecker Group (TSG).

ETA Logo (PRNewsfoto/ETA)

The ETA/TSG U.S. Spending Snapshot, released today at TRANSACT, the global trade event for the payments technology industry, found that the 4.8 percent year-over-year growth in Q4 2018 paced slightly behind Q4 2017’s year-over-year growth of 5.1 percent.

“The final quarter of 2018 continued to bring strong growth to spending via electronic payment methods,” said Jared Drieling, Senior Director of Business Intelligence at TSG. “Though the period’s lower gas prices certainly had an effect on overall spending, spending volume via electronic payments continues at a healthy pace.”

Slower growth in nearly all merchant categories, and a spike in personal savings rate in December 2018, indicates that consumers pocketed their savings at the pump rather than spend them via electronic payments, the report found. Among the merchant categories, hoteliers were the only to see growth year-over-year, likely due to rising prices and a seasonal increase in air travel. Other categories like general merchandise, retail, restaurants and gas stations continued to grow but at lower rates than Q4 2017.

“Our latest Spending Snapshot is quickly becoming an important touchpoint for payments professionals to get a sense of where, when and how electronic payments are growing for consumers,” said Amy Zirkle, Interim CEO at ETA. “We are excited to rollout this latest report at TRANSACT, the largest annual gathering of the payments technology industry.”

According to the report, several regions performed above the national average for year-over-year growth in Q4 2018. The Rocky Mountains (5.53 percent), Plains (5.23 percent), Great Lakes (5.35 percent), Mideast (4.99), Southeast (4.92 percent) and New England (4.91 percent) all grew above the national average.

The ETA/TSG U.S. Spending Snapshot is a quarterly report that analyzes actual consumer spending at 3.7 million U.S. merchants, highlighting payment trends by both merchant categories and geographic breakdowns. The Snapshot uses the Strawhecker Group’s AIM™ (Acquiring Industry Metrics) platform, which spans over 3.7 million U.S. merchants with over $1 trillion of total annualized dollar volume and provides a comprehensive look at same-store sales and consumer spending behavior.

About ETA

The Electronic Transactions Association (ETA) is the global trade association representing more than 500 payments and technology companies. ETA members make commerce possible by processing more than $21 trillion in purchases worldwide and deploying payments innovation to merchants and consumers.

About The Strawhecker Group™

The Strawhecker Group™ (TSG) is a fast-growing analytics and consulting firm focused on the electronic payments industry. The company serves the entire payments ecosystem, from fintech startups to Fortune 500 companies. The firm provides its clients with advisory services, research and analytics to help them plan and execute their strategic initiatives. Based in Omaha, a recognized payments industry hub, TSG is an established leader in this high-growth, ever-evolving space. For more information, please visit

Press Contact: Laura Hubbard,, 202-257-8841

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