Consumer Spending Behavior in Real Time

Consumer Spending Behavior in Real Time

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the demand for analyses of private consumption has grown in a significant manner. The project “Monitoring Consumption Switzerland” gives an insight into the consumer behavior in Switzerland in real time. Measured by the use of cashless payment means and cash withdrawals at ATMs. The evaluations concerning the debit card are mainly based on issuer data from SIX.

Since April 2020, the project team, including professors from the University of St. Gallen (HSG) and the University of Lausanne, has been providing in-depth analyses of consumer behavior in the Swiss population, which has attracted considerable media attention. The numbers processed in real time show the development of private consumption in Switzerland at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic and enable empirical recommendations for action pertaining to the impacts and risks of individual national economic policy measures.

Debit Card Remains Number 1

The most popular means of payment remains the debit card. The debit card is a means of payment with which people spend the most money, followed by cash and the credit card. The underlying numbers on debit card statistics is provided by SIX which, as an issuing processor for banks as card issuers, processes around 98% of all debit card transactions within the international card schemes.

SIX Provides Anonymized Transaction Data

SIX provides carefully selected recipients with aggregated and anonymized transaction data from the processed debit cards. These include the Swiss National Bank, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO and the Statistical Office of the Canton of Zurich. Since this spring, the transaction data has also been made available for the abovementioned HSG project. Depending on the need, the delivery takes place every day, week or month, but the data granularity is adjusted to the respective requirements. The number of transactions can be broken down by type of purchase, at the point of sales (POS) or ATM in Switzerland or abroad, as well as by amount, and can be enriched with geographical information and merchant type (e.g. retail, transport, travel, gas stations, etc.).

Serving the Public

In Switzerland, economic data, which is regularly collected and analyzed, provides important insights into economic events. Primary, significant data is evaluated by state institutions at the national and municipal level. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the demand for analyses of consumption behavior in the Swiss population has grown in a significant manner. The aim is to observe and analyze the development of private consumption at the time of the pandemic and to derive respective insights and then share these with the public. Therefore, the transaction data provided by SIX makes a significant contribution to the Swiss financial center and the rapidly progressing digitization of payment traffic.