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Back to school

Analysis Reveals Strong School Spending By CU Members

Back-to-school spending grows 9.2% among CU members.

September 5, 2014

Back to school spending in anticipation of the 2014-15 school year was robust in August, with a 9.2% increase recorded across 25 merchant types compared to August 2013.

Merchants offering computer software, stores selling elementary/secondary school supplies, and bookstores were particularly busy leading up to Labor Day, according to an analysis of debit card transactions by CO-OP Financial Services and Saylent.

“An increase in the number of transactions—up 7.9%—holds the key to the 9.2% spending increase,” says Stan Hollen, president/CEO of CO-OP. “The amount per transaction rose only 1%: $50.72 in 2014 from $50.12 in 2013. So, credit union members individually were spending about the same amount, but there were more members making back-to-school purchases this year.”

This analysis of sales is based on transactions made during August, with results covering debit card activity nationwide by members of credit unions that use CO-OP for transaction processing. The year-over-year comparison was performed through an advanced analytics solution, CO-OP Revelation, powered by Saylent, and was conducted by Saylent’s Insight360 consulting team.

Among the highlights of the CO-OP Revelation data:

Total spending at the selected back-to-school merchant categories for August 2014 was $715.2 million, compared to $654.9 million in August 2013, a 9.2% increase. The total number of transactions recorded in 2014 was 14.1 million versus 13.067 million in 2013, a 7.9% transaction increase.

• Computer software was the merchant category with the biggest jump in 2014 compared to 2013, with spending up 44.3% and transaction volume up 48.5%.

• Elementary/secondary school supplies stores achieved a spending increase of 29.3% and a transaction increase of 39.7%.

• Bookstores realized a 20.1% increase in spending and a 24.1% increase in transactions.

• Telecom spending rose 16.5% and transactions increased 15.5%.

• Department and stationary stores are the only groups where spending and transaction volume dropped in 2014 compared to the previous year.

“CO-OP Revelation provides detailed and timely analysis on card usage to enable the credit unions to better understand what motivates their members,” said Tyson Nargassans, president/CEO of Saylent. “Whether those payment analytics are used to develop offers on those purchases preferred by parents and students in back-to-school mode, or to help mitigate fraud related to a major breach, CO-OP Revelation allows participating credit unions to serve their members better every day.”

Click here for more information on CO-OP Revelation.