Overall sales at US small businesses were up 2.8% last week. Contactless payments were up for the third week in a row, and are now more than 160% above the pre-COVID baseline.
In last week's report, we predicted sales at US small businesses would decline by about 75% on Monday, September 7 due to the Labor Day holiday. Actual sales were down 52%.
We also expected approximately 50% fewer transactions to take place on Labor Day. Actual transaction counts were down 77.7%.
To find out how Labor Day 2020 affected the week's overall numbers, sign up for email updates to get notified when we publish next week's report.
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 increased by 2.8% last week.
The transaction count metric represents the total number of transactions processed by the small businesses in our sample. Last week, transaction counts increased by 6.9%.
This metric measures all businesses who processed at least one transaction in the preceding week. The number of active merchants increased by 2.6% last week.
The average number of transactions per active merchant increased by 4.2% last week.
The payments industry has two broad categories for transactions based on where they occur.
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 16.6% over their pre-COVID baseline levels, contactless payment methods are up more than 160%.
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 increased by 14.9% last week; transaction counts increased by 4.6%.
Sales at the Retail businesses in our sample decreased by 4.7% week-over-week; transaction counts increased by 5.1%.
Sales at businesses in the Services category increased by 5% last week; transaction counts increased by 7.3%.
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.
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.