Weekly Consumer Credit Card Search Trends

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Times are tough for everyone these days, all across the country. This means consumers are going to tighten their belts but it doesn't necessarily mean they will stop spending online. In fact, Forrester Research predicts 2008 to see $25 billion more in online spending than 2007. And one way consumers will continue to shop without breaking the bank (for now) is by deferring payments through credit cards. So how does a website business take advantage of this environment?

This week we look at trends with credit cards (as defined by search volume) with three major vendors; Visa, American Express and Discover. As you can see below, it's an up and down environment in the industry. And, as it turns out, we recently had an upturn. Look closely at the graph (from Google Trends) and then your calendar. You'll notice that the peaks correspond with Monday-Tuesday while valleys occur on the weekend.

For Web Professionals, this presents an interesting view into possible spending behavior. It could be argued that on Mondays, consumers are searching for their credit card companies, checking balances and paying bills. They've spent the week spending and now its time to pay up. On the other end, looking at the downturns in search volume, it appears that midweek is when consumers spend less time examing their credit cards and, possibly, more time using them. Therefore, it might be argued that a good time to try and lure shoppers with credit cards is later in the week, not earlier. So, you might consider sending your newsletter with a special sale item of the week or introducing a hot new product on a Wednesday afternoon, rather than a Monday morning.

Another consideration is to implement a flexible pricing schedule. Based on our example above, if your consumers are more apt to spending towards the end of the week, you might consider higher price points at that time. Or, looking at it from another perspective, running discounts at the beginning of the week, when consumers are more concerned about how much money they spent on their weekends. This kind of flexibility is exactly the kind of advantage afforded by online commerce.

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