In this expanded edition of the CardFlight Small Business Report, we report on last week's sales data, provide a month-end look back, and share our predictions for the upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend.
The CardFlight Small Business Report analyzes sales performance and emerging trends among small businesses in 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. Sign up below to receive future report notifications right in your inbox.
Learn more about the report and our methodology.
First, we examine change in week-over-week small business performance 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 completely flat over the week of August 24–30, 2020.
The transaction count metric represents the total number of transactions processed by the small businesses in our sample. Last week, transaction counts decreased by 2.3%.
This metric measures all businesses who processed at least one transaction in the preceding week. The number of active merchants decreased by 0.2% last week.
The average number of transactions per active merchant decreased by 2.1% last week.
The payments industry has two broad categories for transactions based on where they occur.
The three ways US consumers typically use credit and debit cards for in-person transactions are:
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 10% over their pre-COVID baseline levels, contactless payment methods are up more than 140%.
In this section of the CardFlight Small Business Report, we take a closer look at small business performance by business category.
Sales at Food and Drink businesses decreased by 8.2% last week. Transaction counts decreased by 1.7% week-over-week.
Sales at the Retail businesses in our sample increased by 0.8% week-over-week. Meanwhile, transaction counts decreased by 0.5%.
Sales at businesses in the Services category decreased by 1.1% last week. Meanwhile, transaction counts decreased by 4.7%.
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 August 3.3% below July.
Transaction counts ended the month of August 0.1% below July.
The number of active small businesses in our sample ended the month of August 1.4% above July.
In this section of the report, we share our predictions for the coming Labor Day holiday weekend and expected small business sales performance. The following projections are based on analysis of recent three-day holiday weekends, in which the holiday falls on a Monday.
Check back on September 16 to see the actual Labor Day small business sales data and see how our predictions hold up. We'll report how actual results compare to our predictions. Or signup to get future editions of the CardFlight Business Report sent straight to your inbox.
Overall sales will likely decline by 75% this coming Monday. This decrease will affect the week's overall sales numbers by about 10%.
The chart below shows sales over the past eight Mondays in blue (actuals), and our predicted sales number for Labor Day in green.
We expect to see 50% fewer transactions this coming Monday compared to a typical Monday.
The chart below shows transaction counts over the past eight Mondays in blue (actuals), and our predicted transaction count number for Labor Day in green.
The CardFlight Small Business Report is intended to provide insights into ongoing sales performance, trends, predictions, and unique analysis of US small businesses. The report has 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 65,000 small businesses who use SwipeSimple software (the signature product of CardFlight) to accept credit and debit card payments.
To create this report, we analyzed a representative sample of millions of transactions processed by:
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.