In this expanded edition of the CardFlight Small Business Report, we check in on the growth of contact-free ways to pay at the small businesses in our sample compared to the pre-COVID baseline of March 2020.
Then, we take a look at last week's small business performance (May 3–9, 2021).
Transaction counts made via invoices, contactless tap, and card on file are each more than 300% above the pre-COVID baseline.
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 Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Bloomberg, Business Insider, Digital Transactions, PaymentsJournal, PaymentsSource, and others.
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CardFlight has been tracking the rise of touch-free ways to pay since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, 2020.
Our research and analysis indicate that consumer preference toward low-contact ways of paying for goods and services has considerable momentum, which continues to accelerate more than fourteen months after the initial wave of COVID restrictions were put in place.
In this section of the report, we provide updated metrics over the past eight weeks compared to the pre-COVID baseline. We define contact-free payments as credit card payments made via Invoices, card on file, and contactless tap-to-pay (contactless-enabled cards and mobile devices).
In-person contactless payments are more than 445% above the pre-COVID baseline. The Food and Drink business category saw the most significant change of the three categories we track in this report. Tap-to-pay transactions are more than 629% above the pre-COVID baseline.
SwipeSimple merchants can create and send invoice via email or SMS text. Once an invoice is sent customers can pay online with their credit card, making invoices a popular payment method for small business owners looking to provide low-contact ways to pay.
The growth we've seen in this payment type is primarily driven by the Services business type (364% above the baseline). However, invoice transaction counts are also above the pre-COVID baseline for Food and Drink merchants (86% above the baseline) and Retail (214% above the baseline).
This payment method represents growth in the number of transactions processed using a credit or debit card the merchant has saved to their SwipeSimple account.
Saving cards on file makes it easy for small businesses to charge for goods and services remotely, before or after the item is purchased or service rendered.
Next, we examine change in week-over-week small business performance by analyzing change in overall sales, number of transactions per business, and more.
Last week's key insights:
This metric compares change in sales at US small businesses from the pre-COVID baseline week of March 2–8, 2020 over the preceding eight weeks.
The transaction count metric represents the total number of transactions processed by the small businesses in our sample.
This metric measures all businesses who processed at least one transaction in the preceding week.
This metric shows the average number of transactions made at all of the active merchants in our sample.
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. Transactions made via contactless payment methods are now 195% higher than their pre-COVID baseline levels.
In this section of the CardFlight Small Business Report, we take a closer look at small business performance by business category.
The two charts below show change in sales and transaction counts at US small businesses in the Food and Drink category from the pre-COVID baseline week of March 2–8, 2020 over the preceding eight weeks.
The two charts below show change in sales and transaction counts at US small businesses in the Retail category from the pre-COVID baseline week of March 2–8, 2020 over the preceding eight weeks.
The two charts below show change in sales and transaction counts at US small businesses in the Services category from the pre-COVID baseline week of March 2–8, 2020 over the preceding eight weeks.
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.
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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 Wall Street Journal, 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 75,000 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.