Over the week of July 6–12, small business sales were once again steady over the preceding week (up 1.2%). Overall sales have been consistent since early June and remain above the baseline by over 20%. Following the Fourth of July holiday week, transaction counts returned to their previous slow-and-steady growth trajectory, up 13.7% over the pre-COVID baseline.
Retail sales were roughly flat (down 1%) week-over-week — while sales increased in both Food and Drink (up 3.9%) and Services (up 6%). Transaction counts also increased. The number of active merchants in our sample also increased (up 2.2%) and are now at the highest level since the baseline week.
This week’s report also features month-over-month comparisons of sales, transaction counts, and active merchants — starting at the baseline month of March,2020.
The CardFlight Small Business Impact Report is intended to provide insights into the impacts of coronavirus/COVID-19 on small businesses across the United States. The report has been featured in and/or cited by The Atlantic, Bloomberg TV, Business Insider, Digital Transactions, PaymentsJournal, PaymentsSource, and others.
Learn more about the report and our methodology.
First, we examine how coronavirus/COVID-19 is affecting small business sales by analyzing change in overall sales, number of transactions per business, and more.
Week-over-week sales at the small businesses in our sample were virtually unchanged for the sixth week in a row — up 1.2% over the preceding week. Overall sales have remained around 20% above the pre-COVID baseline week of March 2–8, 2020 since early June.
As we noted in last week's report, business activity sparked by the Fourth of July holiday drove an 11.4% increase in transaction counts.
This week, transaction counts returned to the slow and steady increase we've seen since the first week of June, after the increase due to the Fourth of July holiday we shared in last week's report. This metric was down 9.2% week-over-week, but is now nearly 14% above the pre-COVID baseline.
The number of active small businesses (measured as all businesses who processed at least one transaction in the previous week) in our sample increased by 2.2% from July 6–12 compared to the preceding week. This metric is now just 1% below the pre-COVID baseline.
The average number of transactions per active merchant decreased by 11.1% last week. As mentioned above, this week-over-week decrease is largely attributable to the Fourth of July holiday week. Overall transactions per active merchant are now nearly 15% above the baseline.
The payments industry has two broad categories for transactions based on where they occur.
At the onset of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, card-present sales decreased at a faster rate than card-not-present sales. That trend ended around the week of April 6–12, when card-present sales began to slowly regain ground week-over-week, ending the week of July 6–12 more than 6% above the baseline.
Next, we'll examine how coronavirus/COVID-19 is changing the manner by which consumers pay for their goods in-person. The three ways US consumers typically use credit and debit cards for in-person transactions are:
Since magnetic stripe payments are a relatively low proportion of our payment volume, we're focusing on chip cards and contactless tap. We continue to see that overall growth in sales made via contactless payment methods are outpacing those made via EMV chip.
While payments made via EMV chip are now up 2% over their pre-COVID baseline levels, contactless payment methods are up nearly 95%.
In this section of the CardFlight Small Business Impact Report, we take a closer look at small business performance by business category.
Sales at Food and Drink businesses were up 3.9% last week, and are now nearly 20% above the pre-COVID baseline of March 2–8, 2020. Meanwhile, transaction counts increased by 7.2% week-over-week, and remain more than 32% above the baseline.
Sales at the Retail businesses in our sample were down 1% week-over-week, and are now more than 18% above the pre-COVID baseline.
Transaction counts in the Retail category were down 28.1% last week, and are now 2.9% below the baseline.
Sales at businesses in the Services category were up 6% last week, and are now more than 18% above the pre-COVID baseline.
Transaction counts at Services businesses were up 6.2% last week. This metric remains nearly 9% above the baseline.
Given the nature of small businesses as whole, at any time, there is a fair amount of new business formation and closures. The analysis below is our attempt to separate net changes in small-business activity from any pandemic-related market share shifts towards SwipeSimple.
Learn more about the SwipeSimple portfolio and our methodology for this section.
For the data tables on which the charts above were made, view the spreadsheet.
Next, we take a look at the month-over-month changes to sales, transaction counts, and number of active merchants at US small businesses. This analysis is based on "whole month" comparisons, using March, 2020 as the baseline month.
Sales at the small businesses in our sample ended the month of June 26% above May, and are now 36.7% above the pre-COVID baseline month.
Transaction counts ended the month of June 18.1% above May, and are now 45% above the pre-COVID baseline.
The number of active small businesses in our sample ended June up 8.5% over May, and are now 1.6% below the pre-COVID baseline month.
The CardFlight Small Business Impact Report is intended to provide insights into the impacts of coronavirus/COVID-19 on small businesses across the United States. The report and the data within have been featured in The Atlantic, Bloomberg TV, Business Insider, Digital Transactions, PaymentsJournal, PaymentsSource, and others.
The report is based on analysis of a representative sample of more than two million transactions processed by more than 60,000 small businesses who use CardFlight’s SwipeSimple software to accept credit and debit card payments.
To create this report, we analyzed a representative sample of millions of transactions processed by:
This report can be useful in understanding the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses at a hyper-local perspective and across the US. For up-to-date data regarding shifts in consumer spending among local businesses, impacts across different industries, and across cities and states, access the most recent report.
The typical SwipeSimple merchant has one to ten employees and less than five locations or mobile service points. The average active merchant represented in this data set processes approximately $130,000 in credit/debit card payments annually. The merchants are a mix of professional and personal service providers, specialty retail establishments, and food and drink purveyors.