Mastercard’s Vosburg Sees Consumer Spending Changes

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Craig Vosburg, Mastercard‘s president of North America, said at a conference Monday (Nov. 16) that the company is seeing new consumer spending trends as a result of the pandemic. Speaking at the Citi 2020 FinTech Conference, Vosburg recounted some of the trends seen in the latest quarter and beyond, saying “we see moderate levels of growth” in overall transaction volume and in spending levels and transactions.

Categories of strength include hardware and home improvement, furniture, grocery “all the areas where we’ve been spending money these last few months.” That’s been offset, of course, by some significant weakness in travel-related spending categories and cross-border-related travel.

But he noted that “while this is a very dramatic short term event, we continue to be focused on the longer term and executing to continue to grow our market share and execute on our digital strategy, which is now more important than ever.”

In the U.S., he said, trends have been relatively consistent.

“Consumer behaviors tend to be fairly sticky, particularly when the things that they’re doing already work reasonably well,” said Vosburg.

But one structural change has been an avoidance of touching things, and an aversion to cash. There is also an acceleration in digital and eCommerce, he said. In a company survey, 70 percent of consumers said they expect to continue or even increase their level of digital and eCommerce shopping; and more than 60 percent of consumers said they expect to use less cash.

Mastercard, he noted, has been seeking to add value to payments (digital and otherwise) though components such as buy now, pay later.

The $825 million bid by Mastercard to buy data aggregator Finicity, as has been reported, has gotten approval from the Department of Justice.

“We’re clear to proceed, and we expect to close on that acquisition very quickly,” said Vosburg.

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