Payments Data Offers Insight on 2022 Holiday Spending

Dec  14 
Mike Spriggs  Director, Product Development, SpendTrend 

Omnichannel convenience and flexible payment experiences can help businesses combat economic pressures

In the face of continuing economy uncertainty, merchants are scrambling to recalibrate traditional strategies to match the times.

To get a clearer picture of spending during this year’s holiday shopping season, we explored 2022 market trends and purchasing patterns by analyzing consumer data compiled by SpendTrend® from Fiserv. We also considered economic indicators.

We’ve just updated our analysis with data from October 1 through December 31, 2022. See section on “Holiday 2022” below or go directly to our landing page to get the report.

SpendTrend provides a comprehensive look at card-based consumer spending each month, aggregating retail sales data and consumer spending patterns across more than four million merchant locations in all major retail verticals.

Overview of 2022

Overall, our analysis showed that spending slowed in 2022, largely driven by sluggish retail performance. While the average ticket amount on retail sales rose by 5% through October 2022, the total number of transactions decreased by 5%, and this combination stifled spending at retail.

During the pandemic, people bought durable goods such as electronics, appliances, home furnishings and hobby-related products. In 2022, these same categories have trended downward. For example, year-over-year spending on electronics and appliances has dropped by almost 11% in 2022 through October.

Despite a return to familiar domestic routines, shifts in spending priorities have continued for consumers. Compared to pre-pandemic spending, there is less focus on goods and more on experiential spending. Restaurants, hotel, travel and leisure have sustained fairly aggressive growth, even in the face of inflationary pressure and the increase in gas prices.

Many of the economic indicators that typically give color to consumers’ actions and attitudes are offering a less clear picture of spending to come in Q4. The unemployment rate in October was 3.7%, which is good but recent headlines report significant layoffs across tech and retail. The inflation rate, while still very high, dropped in October to 7.7%, the lowest rate since December 2021. U.S. GDP growth jumped up to 2.6% in Q3 2022 after two consecutive quarters of negative growth, helping to lessen fears of an imminent recession. 

But consumers’ savings rates have fallen further to 3.1%, the lowest it has been since April 2008. And lastly, consumer sentiment has notched up to 59.9, building back from a decades-low of 50.0 in June. 

Holiday 2022

Hotels, leisure and travel, along with restaurants, were the big winners of the 2022 holiday season. Retail industries struggled throughout the season, whether it was customer visits in-store or online.

The best performing industries were led by strong eCommerce growth.

  • Overall spending growth for the 2022 holiday season was 4.5% which was somewhat expected given the strong growth in spending in 2021 (up +16.9% from 2020). This growth was driven by an average ticket growth of +3.1%, which was influenced by an inflation rate of ~7.0% throughout the season.
  • Overall, the headline for the 2022 season is the relatively strong performance of travel and related spending (+22.3%), and the relatively weak demand at retail (-2.0%). Retail growth relies heavily on brick & mortar activity, and this was down -1.6% compared to 2021.
  • Retail spending growth was stronger the week of Christmas (+1.8%) than it was during the Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday weekend (-0.6%). There were several influencers at work, but inflation was the biggest factor to stifle demand early in the season.
  • SMB merchants performed well with +3.2% spending growth, but larger national scale merchants performed better, up 6.3% in spending which received a tremendous boost from eCommerce activity (+11.3%)
  • Debit usage stalled at retail (-4.0%) and was likely further evidence of consumer pressure in this inflationary period. The personal savings rate reported by the US Bureau of Economic Analysis in November was 2.4%, near a historic low.


Armed with lessons from a turbulent recent past and insights into consumer attitudes about future uncertainty, retail business owners can address predicted shortfalls by meeting their customers where they are. This means offering BNPL and omnichannel options that increase engagement, make the buying process easy for your customers and build relationships that transcend market factors.

For restaurants, hotel, travel and leisure, the advice is similar: make sure you have payments options and promote the experience you are selling.