Discover retail industry guidance and insights into how, where and when consumers spend


Make the Holiday Season Sweet: 2023 Holiday Infographic

Cardlytics’ analysis of almost $380B in consumer holiday spend over the last 3 years keeps marketers informed on how to win this holiday season as shopping behaviors change YoY.

6 minutes read

Sleigh this Holiday Shopping Season

The 2023 holiday season is just around the corner, and this year consumers will be headed to their favorite online and in-store brands earlier than ever! 

As we gear up for the 2023 holiday season, Cardlytics' comprehensive analysis of nearly $380 billion in consumer holiday spending over the past three years equips marketers with essential insights to win more during this critical period. Access our full 2023 Holiday Infographic here

Decoding the 2023 Holiday Analysis

Holiday 2022 witnessed a 3% drop compared to the previous year, attributed to reduced spending per customer, fewer transactions per customer, and slower growth in average transaction size. Given the lingering economic challenges from the previous year, brands need inventive strategies to incentivize consumer spending during this holiday season.

Interestingly, a shift in spending behavior has been observed, with holiday spend moving back to brick-and-mortar retailers from online channels. This contrasts with the Back-to-School analysis by Cardlytics, which saw online spending was up for both B&M.coms and online only brands. This shift underscores the significance of an omni-channel approach, ensuring that brands are present where consumers choose to shop, whether in-store or online.

Early Birds and Mass Merchandisers

An intriguing trend emerging from the analysis is the increasing percentage of spending occurring within the initial three weeks of the holiday season year over year. Consumers are diving into their shopping lists earlier and earlier, demanding that brands engage with them during this period.

When it comes to dominating the holiday market share, Mass Merchandisers are the frontrunners, holding a whopping 58% of the total wallet share. As consumers grow more price-conscious, Mass Merchandisers are poised to leverage this shift in consumer behavior to their advantage. The Apparel category is also gaining momentum, presenting an opportunity for brands to bolster their presence and profits.

Unwrap the secret to success with Cardlytics 

Through strategic partnerships with banks, Cardlytics possesses an extraordinary advantage - access to the transaction data of over 186 million consumers. This invaluable resource empowers brands with a detailed understanding of consumer purchasing patterns, offering a holistic view of when, where, and how people shop.

The holiday season is approaching rapidly, and with it comes the opportunity for retail brands to acquire new customers and grow loyalty with existing shoppers. In this competitive landscape, making informed decisions is crucial to stand out from the crowd. That's where Cardlytics comes into play, providing real insights from real bank customers to support retail brands in navigating the complexities of the upcoming holiday season. Get started today.


Class Is In-Session: 2023 Back-to-School Infographic

6 minutes read

Class Is In-Session

Back-to-School continues to be one of the largest shopping events of the year, and once again, Cardlytics is here to inform on the latest consumer trends. Our analysis of over $122B in BTS spend over the last 3 years sheds light on YoY trends, category-level insights, and more. Now more than ever, brands should leverage these insights to create informed, strategic marketing plans and drive long-term customer loyalty.

Back to Basics

While spend is up 3.8% YoY, it is growing at a slower pace than previously observed. Not exactly a surprise given the COVID lockdown, but it seems that the spend bounce back we saw last year has slowed, especially considering the current economic pressures.
The same slow in overall spend can be observed across purchase volume as well, indicating consumers may be consolidating their Back-to-School errands with other shopping trips (e.g. grocery, home, etc.)


Brick and Mortar Shoppers Played Hooky This Season

Online spending is up for both B&M.coms and online only brands, indicating that the shift initially brought on by COVID is likely permanent. Brands should consider an omni-channel approach in order to engage the customer where they are spending.

Mass Merchandisers Pass with Flying Colors

Mass Merch continues to dominate as inflation drives customers to keep price top of mind. While all other subcategory spend is down in 2022, Mass Merchandisers are up 9.2% vs. 2021. In fact, Mass Merch is the only category to have YoY growth across all metrics – spend, trips, and customers – in the last 2 years. Branded retailers should ramp up engagement with existing customers to prevent churn. Get the data.

Cardlytics Helps You Make the Grade

As consumer spend begins to slow, and pressure mounts from competition, it’s never been more important to create value for the consumer, and drive brand loyalty. CDLX’ whole-wallet-view of customer spend can help identify your most relevant target audiences and unlock incremental sales – and we can prove it.

Request the data: 2023 Back to School Infographic


What Christmas sale spend trends can tell us about retail in 2023 as rewards take centre stage

6 minutes read

The ongoing rise in the cost of living has altered the way Brits approached spending in the last 12 months – with the Christmas period providing a clear indicator of today’s state of play. Spending year-on-year flatlined with the average transaction value sitting at around £33 for Christmas 2022 and the previous year.

Retail spending increased by less than 0.5% year-on-year in the last 11 days of 2022 –reaching nearly £442m, up £2m on 2021.

With Christmas being such a critical moment for retailers this flatline comes as a disappointment as the sector continues to shoulder the impacts of higher inflation and declining discretionary spend amongst shoppers.

That said, the Boxing Day sales provided a much-needed boost for retailers following adulled ‘Golden Quarter’. The average amount spent daily by consumers rose 18% betweenChristmas Day and New Year’s Eve last year, compared to immediate build-up to Christmas(21st -24th December 2022), with shoppers taking advantage of discounts as the cost of living continues to squeeze households.

Electricals, online fast fashion and marketplaces sales fall

Consumer spend on electricals saw a second-year of decline, as consumers reigned in their spending on big ticket items like devices, televisions and games consoles. UK electricals purchases have dropped by 20% over the last two years.

Online fast fashion retailers also experienced a slump in sales, with spend falling 42% from 2020 levels as consumers return to the high street for their wardrobe updates.

Digital marketplaces saw a 9% decline in spend year-on-year, following a period of growth between 2020 to 2021. And despite inflation hiking prices, buyers also appear to be turning away from previously loved furniture and other second-hand goods.

High street fashion, sports apparel and home improvements see gains

Despite an overall plateau in spend across the retail sector, spend in high street fashion stores, like Zara, H&M and Next, has risen 29% over the last two years – with consumers hitting the high streets to cash in on Christmas and Boxing Day deals.

Sporting goods brands - such as GymShark, Sports Direct, JD Sports - saw a 17% uptick in spend in the same two-year time period, with fitness-based new year’s resolutions fuelling prolonged sales growth.

Buyers have been turning to sales as a chance to invest in value homeware, with brands like IKEA, Dunelm and B&M recording a 12% increase on 2020 levels of spend.

While this is undoubtedly a difficult time for households - and bigger ticket purchases appear to have been put on the back-burner - consumers still want to cash in on potential deals, find ways to update their homes and wardrobes, whilst also doubling-down on their fitness goals in the new year.

As we go deeper into 2023, this is an opportunity for retailers to invest in building long-term customer engagement and loyalty. Through schemes such as rewards, discount ranges and personalised marketing, brands can deliver tailored savings and money back to their customer-base, at a time when it’s most valued. Unfortunately, the cost-of-living crisis isn’t going away anytime soon, so as belts continue to tighten, delivering savings through tailored rewards could be the difference that keeps customers engaged and onboard.


What can the £10 million drop in Black Friday Spending tell us about spend across the Golden Quarter this year?

6 minutes read

Sitting at the halfway point of the Golden Quarter, Black Friday is a crucial bellwether on consumer spending, indicating how retailers are performing and what they can expect over the critical festive period. This year saw Brits spend nearly £10 million less than in 2021 as rising inflation and the cost-of-living crisis tightened consumers’ belts.

A recent survey by Cardlytics found that over half of consumers (53%) plan to put fewer presents under the Christmas tree this year. At the same time, a similar number (46%) have said they have started shopping for presents earlier in order to spread the cost.

So, what effect did this have on Black Friday sales this year and what insight can this give us into the outlook for retailers this Golden Quarter?

Tighter budgets impact traditional Black Friday winners

Cardlytics spend data across 24 million UK bank accounts shows that total spend across key retail verticals this Black Friday weekend was £220 million – a reduction of 9% year on year. Black Friday itself saw a 6% dip in the number of transactions when compared with 2021.

Strikingly, the categories that took the biggest hit were those most often associated with Black Friday. Fashion and clothing saw some of the largest declines, with spend at fast fashion brands decreasing 30% year on year and the number of transactions declining by 31%.

It was a similar story for luxury brands which saw spend down 23% year on year and transactions dip by 17%.

Make-up and electrical goods, two sectors traditionally targeted in the sales, also saw weaker activity across Black Friday with spend falling 18% and 19% respectively.

Sales of less traditional Black Friday categories have fared somewhat better. Sporting goods were the standout stars this year seeing spend increasing by 2% compared to 2021 and transactions declining by 1%.

Learnings for Christmas

With people planning to spend less on festivities this year, and a weaker Black Friday than previous years, the Golden Quarter is likely to lose some of its shine for retailers. Consumer prices are continuing to increase and discretionary spend is on the decline, resulting in increased levels of caution around spending. Spend is shifting away from ‘aspirational’ items and gifting for Christmas to more practical, everyday purchases such as sporting goods.

We also know that consumers are looking for value from their shopping with nearly three in five (57%) planning to spend more time searching for deals for gifts. Retailers can tap into this by focusing on core product ranges that give customers value for money and by offering tailored discounts on the products they need the most – be it for gifts or when thinking about the January sales.

Are sales enough?

As Black Friday has shown, blanket discounts aren’t enough to get consumers through the door anymore. News stories have pointed to Black Friday discounts being less significant than they appear, resulting in a seemingly increased level of scepticism around such sales.  

As retailers look to Christmas and the frenzy of Boxing Day sales, this is an opportunity to take a more personalised approach to consumers – offering them tailored discounts on the brands and items that mean the most to them based on their shopping habits.

In times of financial challenge, helping people feel they have got a genuine deal on items that are worth buying has become more critical than ever and will help to build loyalty for brands in the long run.

Retailers have long been aware of the requirement for personalisation to drive sales and customer loyalty. As the cost of living crisis deepens, the need for this personal touch will only intensify – and those that can deliver on this, learning from Black Friday, will be the ones that build brand loyalty for the long-term, driving clear outcomes for the top and bottom lines.


Could the cost-of-living crisis be good news for high street retailers?

6 minutes read

Headlines professing the challenging impact of the cost of living crisis on retail are everywhere at the moment. From sky high inflation, astronomic delivery and rent costs, to reports of dwindling consumer spending, the outlook is tough for retail.

Our new spending report found that four in five (79%) consumers are spending more on day-to-day outgoings than they did a year ago, with three quarters (72%) saying they plan to cut-back on non-essential spending this year as the cost-of-living continues to rise. 

But as consumers tighten their purse strings and re-prioritise spending, that doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities that high street retailers can capitalise on. 

We’re already seeing spending patterns start to shift as budgets tighten, with more emphasis on more affordable little luxuries than bigger ticket items. 

But the real opportunity for high street brands is how they can capitalise on the fall in spending on luxury and designer brands. 

Spend on luxury and designer brands fell 7% in the first 6 months of 2022 compared with 2021, while the number of transactions at luxury brands dropped 10% in the same period. This proves that consumers aren’t just spending less on designer and luxury goods, but are turning away from these brands altogether.

This downward trend looks set to continue into next year, with over half (59%) of consumers planning to spend less on luxury goods this year, while a further half (48%) plan on switching to cheaper brands for clothing and homeware as the cost-of-living bites.

This is the big opportunity for the high street. When recessions hit, consumer desire to purchase and treat themselves doesn’t go away, it simply changes shape. As shoppers choose to spend less and spend better, moving away from designers, the need to replace items or buy clothing won’t dissipate. The key for high street brands will be how they can capture this spend. 

Traditional high street retailers are already benefiting from the gap that luxury leaves, with both total spend and the number of transactions at high street fashion brands up 11% in the first six months of 2022 compared with 2021 as consumers ‘trade down’ when shopping.

As the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite, high street fashion brands should position themselves as a great value alternative for quality designer goods to encourage people to make the shift away from luxury shopping. 

To do that, serving luxury and designer shoppers relevant rewards and offers on the categories they shop the most can help divert spending.

Banking channels are an effective way to target these higher spending customers – targeting specific customers in the channels they already operate in with the brands they love to encourage switching and spending. 

This doesn’t mean that retailers must engage in a race to the bottom on price, keeping price lines reassuringly expensive for this shopper set can help make the switch more appealing. 

As shoppers prioritise their spending, and move away from luxury and designer purchases, high street brands that invest in this group now will expand their market share in the long run.

Download the UK State of Spend report here.


Cost-of-living crunch drives consumers to discounters and second-hand marketplaces

6 minutes read
  • Tighter budgets drive consumers to discounters, with spend at brands like TK Maxx, B&M and Home Bargains up 12% in the first half of this year, with transactions up 17%
  • Average spend at second-hand marketplaces rises 482% between 2019 and 2022, as consumers search out second-hard bargains 
  • Spend shifts from designer brands to the high street, as spend at high street brands rises 11% in 20221, while the number of transactions at luxury brands falls 10%

LONDON – 8th November 2022 – Cost-conscious consumers are switching to discount brands and second-hand marketplaces which saw double digit spending growth in the first half of the year, a new report from advertising platform Cardlytics finds. 

The State of Retail Spend report, based on the spending habits of over 24 million UK bank cards and the views of over 2,000 UK consumers, found that four in five (79%) consumers report spending more on day-to-day outgoings than they did a year ago, while with three quarters (72%) say they plan to cut-back on non-essential spending this year as the cost-of-living crunch sets in.  

Discount brands see boom in spend 

As costs increase and consumers look to make their money stretch further, the report found that over half (58%) of consumers plan to shop more at discount homeware and fashion brands this year.

Discount retailers such as B&M, TK Maxx, Home Bargains and Primark saw the largest increase in spend in the first half of this year, up 12% compared to 20211, whilst the number of transactions at these brands rose 17% in the same period.

Second-hand becomes mainstream 

The report also found that increasing numbers of consumers are turning to second-hand marketplaces in response to the cost-of-living squeeze.

Platforms like eBay, Depop and Vinted, saw a 7% uptick in spend in the first half of the year, compared to the same period in 2021, while the average number of transactions made on these platforms rose 6%.

It’s not just the number of purchases that are increasing, the amount spent per person has also risen drastically in recent years. In 2019, consumers spent £35.67 on average on second-hand marketplaces, compared with £207.63 in 2022 – a 482% rise.

That trend is set to continue as prices rise and consumers become increasingly aware of the environmental impact of buying new. The report found that one in three (34%) consumers plan to buy more second-hand items this year, while half (47%) of consumers say they plan to shop less at fast-fashion brands this year.

On the other hand, fast-fashion brands are starting to feel the impact of this mindset shift, with the number of transactions at these retailers down 16% in the first half of this year compared to 2021. 

Shoppers choose high street brands over designers 

Spend on luxury and designer brands fell 7% in the first 6 months of 2022, compared to 2021, while the number of transactions at luxury brands dropped 10% in the same period, indicating that consumers aren’t just spending less on designer and luxury goods, but are turning away from these brands altogether.

This downward trend looks set to continue into next year, with over half (59%) of consumers planning to spend less on luxury goods this year, while a further half (48%) plan on switching to cheaper brands for clothing and homeware as the cost-of-living bites.

Traditional high street retailers are already benefitting from the gap that luxury leaves, with both total spend and the number of transactions at high street fashion brands up 11% in the first six months of 2022, compared with 20213 as consumers ‘trade down’ when shopping.

Home and garden spend dries up

The past two years saw bumper spend at home and gardens brands as lockdowns fuelled renovations, but withthree in five (61%) consumers planning to cut back on big-ticket purchases this year this upward trajectory may have reached its peak.  

The report found that consumers are still committed to improving their outdoor space, but they are increasingly looking to do so in ways that don’t break the bank. The number of transactions at garden centres rose 22% in the first 6 months of 2022, compared to the same period in 20213, but the average transaction value fell 20%3, suggesting that consumers are continuing to shop at these brands but are spending less when they do. 

It's a similar picture for high street furniture brands who are increasingly feeling the impact of shifting consumer spending priorities. Spend at furniture brands fell 20% in the first six months of this year compared to the six months prior3.  

Dawn Reid VP Advertising Partnerships at Cardlytics said: “We know that even in times of economic downturn, consumers still want to find ways to treat themselves, refresh their wardrobes or invest in their homes. 

“But with tighter budgets than ever and the economic picture set to worsen, consumers are looking for cheaper swaps and ways to save, putting off big ticket purchases and trading down on many of their usual purchases.

“There's an opportunity for retailers to invest now, to support consumers longer term, whether through investing in price and discount ranges, value-focused marketing, or loyalty schemes, brands can put money back into their loyal customers wallets and help build longer term brand affinity. Those brands that can grow and retain their customer base now, when times are tough, will be most likely to succeed in future.”

Download the UK State of Spend report here.

About Cardlytics

Cardlytics (NASDAQ: CDLX) is a digital advertising platform. We partner with financial institutions to run their rewards programs that promote customer loyalty and deepen relationships. In turn, we have a secure view into where and when consumers are spending their money. We use these insights to help marketers identify, reach, and influence likely buyers at scale, as well as measure the true sales impact of marketing campaigns. Headquartered in Atlanta, Cardlytics has offices in London, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Austin, Detroit, and Visakhapatnam. Learn more at


The cost-of-living crisis has accelerated the move to second hand

6 minutes read

Energy bills are at an all-time high. Mortgage rates are at the highest level for 14 years. Last week the cost of a weekly shop rose at its fastest rate since 1980. 

While we all wait for the outcome of the Government’s budget in November, there’s only one question on retailers and shoppers' lips: when will prices stop rising? 

As inflation keeps creeping up, it’s fundamentally altering what consumers buy and how they shop. Our latest research found that three quarters (72%) of shoppers plan to cut-back on non-essential spending this year as the rising cost-of-living sets in. 

But, heading into a recession doesn’t always mean spending disappears. More often than not, spending just changes shape. 

Our new spending report, based on the spending insight of one in four UK bank accounts, found that increasing numbers of shoppers are turning to second hand marketplaces in response to the cost-of-living squeeze, swapping new for second hand in a bid to bag a bargain. 

Platforms like eBay, Depop and Vinted saw a 7% uptick in spend in the first half of the year, compared with the same period in 20211, while the average number of transactions made on these platforms rose 6%.

Strikingly, this growth isn’t just coming from an increase in the number of people buying second hand – the average spend per person has also skyrocketed by 482% in the past three years, from £35.67 in 2019 to £207.63. No longer just a budget option, second hand fashion is increasingly the go-to for buying clothes. 

There’s no arguing that the cost-of-living crisis is accelerating a trend towards second hand shopping in search of better value. But the shift to second hand was already on the rise as the impact of the fashion industry on the planet was made all too evident.

Almost half (47%) of shoppers say they plan to shop less at fast-fashion brands this year, and we’re seeing this play out across our spend data; spend on online fast fashion brands was down 4% year on year in the first six months of 2022, while the number of transactions fell by 16%.

The cost-of-living crisis will undoubtedly make it more challenging for fashion retailers, as the competition for people’s dwindling disposable income gets tighter. Brands will need to work harder to keep and grow their customer spending and their market share.

Harnessing the shift towards sustainability provides an opportunity to do this. While focusing on sustainability as a retailer has a positive impact on the planet and brand reputation, it increasingly also comes with benefits to a business’s bottom line.

We’re already seeing some retailers take steps to introduce second hand or upcycled ranges, or even their own resale platforms, such as Zara’s newly launched pre-owned service or Urban Outfitters’ ‘Urban Renewal’ upcycled range. Even high street heavyweights like John Lewis are trialling their own fashion rental service.

Rewards programmes that encourage second hand purchases or recycling clothing are another way to capitalise – for example offering discounts on end of line goods, or vouchers or cashback for bringing in clothes to be recycled can help drive further spending. 

Done right, these moves can not only improve brand perceptions, but turn into lucrative revenue streams. 

The cost-of-living crisis and tighter budgets have converged with a desire to reduce overconsumption and shop more consciously and the trend is showing no signs of slowing. 

Fashion brands that act now to capitalise on consumer concerns for their purse strings and the planet will reap the rewards in the long run.

Download the UK State of Spend report here.

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