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Press release from Business Wire

Chase Freedom Lifestyle Index: Consumers spend big on consumer electronics, toys and books heading into 2013

<p class='bwalignc'> <i>Consumer electronics spending increases 65 percent in fourth quarter 2012</i> </p> <p class='bwalignc'> <i>Non-holiday entertainment and leisure spending drops</i> </p>

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Chase Freedom Lifestyle Index: Consumers spend big on consumer electronics, toys and books heading into 201308:30 EST Thursday, January 24, 2013 WILMINGTON, Del. (Business Wire) -- A sign of continued economic improvement, consumers did not hesitate to open their wallets in the last quarter of 2012. New data from the Chase Freedom Lifestyle Index reveals that consumers significantly increased expenditures on consumer electronics, toys, and books. The Index is a quarterly barometer of consumer trends based on aggregated cardholder spending data from Chase Freedom, one of the nation's largest mass affluent credit cards. According to the Index, year-over-year spending increased 2 percent, while quarter-over-quarter spending saw no change in Q4 2012. “Our cardholders give us a reason to be optimistic about the economy,” said Phil Christian, general manager, Chase Freedom. “It is clear that they did not shy away from holiday spending. Yet, they prioritized their credit card spending by cutting down on some non-holiday leisure purchases such as recreational facilities, hotels, and museums.” Chase Freedom cardholders bring in the holidays with gifts, and more gifts While carefully monitoring their spending, cardholders were generous gift-givers this holiday season, according to the Index, which recorded significant increases in a number of retail spending categories, including books (33 percent), clothing/apparel (23 percent), and sporting goods (27 percent). The largest quarter-over-quarter spending increases were recorded in toys and consumer electronics, two traditionally popular holiday spending categories, which increased by 81 and 65 percent, respectively. Following consumer electronics and toys was jewelry spending, which rose 49 percent, compared to the previous quarter. “Advancements in new smartphone, tabloid, and other mobile technology clearly caused consumer electronics spending to sky rocket,” continued Christian. “The rise of consumer electronics spending in the fourth quarter is a sign that strong demand for smart phones and tablets is likely to continue in 2013, providing a boost for our economy.” Holiday spending countered by decreases in leisure, entertainment spending While Chase Freedom cardholders took to holiday shopping in the fourth quarter, they spent less on leisure and discretionary activities, balancing out retail spending increases and leading to no increase in overall spending compared to the third quarter of 2012. Celebrating the spirit of the holiday season, cardholders appear to have opted for spending more time with family and eating in during the fourth quarter. Spending at restaurant and fast food venues decreased, by 15 and 9 percent, respectively. Cardholders stayed close to home during the holidays, spending less on hotels, car rentals, and toll purchases, which decreased by 21, 26, and 8 percent, respectively. Other leisure expenditures that were replaced by holiday shopping were museum and recreational facility spending, which decreased by 27 and 17 percent, respectively. The only leisure activity that recorded an increase in the fourth quarter was the movie theater category, which grew by 13 percent, likely driven by advancements in digital technology as well as a year of blockbusters. Chase Freedom cardholders can earn 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases at gas stations, drugstores, and Starbucks® stores January through March 2013. Customers can activate 5 percent cash back online, over the phone, via text message, on Facebook or at one of Chase's more than 5,500 branches. For more information, visit Chase Freedom's website or Facebook page.               Q4 2012 vs. Q4 2011     Q4 2012 vs. Q3 2012 Books 11% 33% Car Rentals 1% -26% Clothing/Apparel -3% 23% Consumer Electronics 5% 65% Fast Food 5% -9% Hotels 8% -21% Jewelry -4% 49% Movie Theaters 17% 13% Museums 8% -27% Restaurants -1% -15% Recreation Facilities 7% -17% Sporting Goods 7% 27% Tolls 18% -8% Toys -6%     81%   About Chase Freedom Lifestyle Index The Chase Freedom Lifestyle Index is a quarterly barometer of consumer trends based on aggregated Chase Freedom cardholder spending data. The Index was developed to examine the ways that Chase Freedom cardholders are enjoying everyday rewards and special occasions throughout the year. The Index tracks actual customer spending in aggregate, as opposed to opinion polls and surveys, which ask people how they are spending or intend to spend. Index data represents the actual spending patterns of Chase Freedom cardholders, who represent a broad sample of American consumers from across regions and demographic groups. About Chase Chase is the U.S. consumer and commercial banking business of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.4 trillion and operations in more than 60 countries. Chase serves more than 50 million consumers and small businesses through more than 5,500 bank branches, 17,500 ATMs, credit cards, mortgage offices, and online and mobile banking as well as through relationships with auto dealerships. More information about Chase is available at Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: Chase Card ServicesRob Tacey,