April 2024 Fiserv Small Business Index™ Reveals Growth in Sales for Retail and Service Businesses, Discretionary Spending Slows

Fiserv, a leading global provider of payments and financial services technology, has recently released the Fiserv Small Business Index™ for April 2024. This index serves as a key indicator of small business performance across the United States on national, state, and industry levels.

In April, consumer spending patterns underwent significant shifts, with notable increases observed in service-based business spending, encompassing professional services like tax preparation. These gains helped counterbalance a slowdown in discretionary spending.

Nationally, the seasonally adjusted Fiserv Small Business Index rose by 4 points to reach 145. Small business sales exhibited robust growth, increasing by 5.6% year-over-year and 2.2% month-over-month.

Prasanna Dhore, Chief Data Officer at Fiserv, commented, “Consumer spending shifted significantly in April, with appreciable gains in service-based business spending, which includes professional services such as tax preparation, offsetting a slowdown in discretionary spending. Retail also showed promising signs in April, with small retailers experiencing a 7.7% year-over-year increase in sales compared to 2023.”

Retail sales rebounded notably from a sluggish March, with a 1.6% month-over-month increase and a substantial 7.7% year-over-year growth. Various retail subsectors witnessed strong month-over-month gains, including Furniture (+4.9%), Building Materials (+3.8%), Motor Vehicle Parts (+4.4%), and Gas Stations (+3.1%).

Consumer preferences leaned towards service spending in April, with notable growth observed in Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services, which saw a 7.0% increase over March and a significant 16.4% increase year-over-year. The demand for bookkeeping, accounting, and other related business services surged due to the IRS tax filing deadline falling within April. Additionally, both large and small construction projects drove demand for small business architectural, engineering, and surveying services.

Spending at Specialty Trade Contractors grew by 4.1% month-over-month and 4.0% year-over-year, driven by seasonal demand for services like swimming pool maintenance, concrete/masonry work, and heating/cooling installations.

However, businesses capturing discretionary spending, such as restaurants and those in travel and recreational activities, experienced slower performance compared to recent months. Food Services and Drinking Places saw sales growth decelerate, attributed to increased consumer demand for lower-priced food options. Restaurant spending decreased by 3.1% compared to March and slightly dipped by 0.2% from April 2023.

The Fiserv Small Business Index™ is published monthly and relies on direct aggregation of consumer spending activity within the U.S. small business ecosystem, derived from point-of-sale transaction data. This approach provides a timely and reliable measure of small business performance across various sectors and sub-sectors.

To access the full Fiserv Small Business Index, visit fiserv.com/FiservSmallBusinessIndex.

About Fiserv: Fiserv, Inc. (NYSE: FI), a Fortune 500 company, is dedicated to facilitating the movement of money and information globally. As a leader in payments and financial technology, Fiserv offers innovative solutions in account processing, digital banking, card issuer processing, e-commerce, and more. Fiserv has been consistently recognized for its excellence and innovation, being named one of Fortune® World’s Most Admired Companies™ for 9 out of the last 10 years. For more information, visit fiserv.com and follow Fiserv on social media for the latest updates.

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