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Data for today’s episode is provided by Mercator Advisory Group’s Report: Commercial Credit Cards: North America Market Review and Forecast, 2019-2025
U.S. Commercial Credit Card Spend in 2020:
- Overall 2020 commercial credit card spend for mid- to large-market entities (including government) was $493.3 billion.
- This is 19.1% lower than commercial credit card spend in 2019.
- Corporate card spending declined by 67% to $54.1 billion, given the discontinue of business travel after March 2021.
- While there was some optimism regarding a general turnaround by Q4 2020, international travel restrictions largely remained in place into 2021.
- Purchasing card spending declines were a less severe 5% to $255.6 billion, which is in line with overall negative 2021 GDP results.
- Mercator anticipates stronger growth in 2021 and a CAGR of 15.7% in the 2021-2025 timeframe.
Prior to the onset of the pandemic, the commercial credit card market for mid to large corporates in North America had been in a reasonably strong growth mode for several years, with a similar trajectory expected going forward in the following few years. As COVID-related lockdown policies were generally instituted in all regions, with accompanying restrictions on inbound international travel, the challenge was figuring out just how badly corporate card spend would be impacted and the scope of spillover effects on other payments from business slowdowns. As it turned out, the overall U.S. full-year GDP decline was relatively mild and as of Q1 2021, output had exceeded $22 trillion, suggesting a relatively fast, V-curve recovery. Accelerated digital payments adoption by corporates saddled by work-from-home scenarios and industry concentration on purchasing cards and non-travel virtual cards helped to ameliorate disastrous overall card payment declines. Mercator Advisory Group’s latest research report, Commercial Credit Cards: North America Market Review and Forecast, 2019-2025 provides a review of the commercial credit card markets in Canada and the United States, including an analysis of how the pandemic impacted 2020 spend, as well as recovery expectations through 2025.
“The good news for the industry in North America, especially the United States, is that the movement towards expanded use cases for cards in accounts payable created a substantial offsetting balance to the negative effects of lost travel spend,” commented Steve Murphy, Director, Commercial and Enterprise Payments Advisory Service, author of the report, “and this shift has occurred over time, setting the industry up for returned growth during the coming five years.”