A new report from CardFlight Inc., a point-of-sale technology provider serving more than 60,000 small businesses through its SwipeSimple service, shows merchant activity climbing back to just about where it was in early March when the Covid-19 outbreak began to hit the economy hard.
Total sales in the SwipeSimple merchant portfolio for the week of May 11-17 grew 3.1% week-over week and were off just 0.3% from the week of March 2-8, CardFlight’s baseline week for its weekly reports on how small businesses are faring during the Covid-19 pandemic. The total number of transactions increased for the fifth consecutive week, rising 5.2%. Transactions are now 9.1% below the baseline week’s level compared with their low point of minus 48.5% in the week of April 6-12.
The number of active merchants is off 14.4% from the baseline week but has risen every week since its low point of minus 29.7%, which also was the week of April 6-12. The average number of transactions per active merchant grew 2% week-over-week and is now above the baseline week’s average by 6.2%.
“Our data suggest that businesses are continuing to grow their sales and many closed businesses continue to re-open,” New York City-based CardFlight said in a blog post. “While a number of U.S. states reduced stay-at-home restrictions during the second week of May, it appears that the impacts of opening have been steady and continuous, with growth in sales occurring prior to and through any official easing of restrictions.”
The improvements vary widely by industry. Retailers’ sales in the May 11-17 week grew 5.7% to finish 6.3% above the baseline. Retail transactions, however, slipped 3.3%. Sales at CardFlight’s food-and-drink establishments were flat week-over-week but are still 3.2% above the baseline week.
Sales at entertainment and recreation merchants dipped 5.2% week-over-week and are 40.9% below the baseline. Health and beauty spas posted a 15.8% week-over-week sales gain but remain 54.6% below the baseline.
CardFlight distributes Swipe Simple through a network of 80 merchant acquirers and independent sales organizations, including 10 of top 30. The average active merchant does $130,000 in annualized payment volume, according to company founder and chief executive Derek Webster.