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Black Friday is Busiest Day in Key Holiday Gift Categories with More than One-Third of Gift-Buying to Occur before 10 a.m.


Cyber Monday won’t come until later; debit helps consumers stay on budget

Black Friday was the busiest day for holiday shopping last year in the top five traditional gift-buying categories (brick-and-mortar department, discount, clothing, electronics/appliances and sporting goods/toy stores), with more than one-third of MasterCard payment transactions occurring before 10 a.m.*, according to the MasterCard Worldwide Holiday Shopping Insights Report™.

Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving and commonly thought of as the busiest day of the year for shopping and the start of the traditional holiday shopping season in the United States.

MasterCard anticipates that consumers will be up at the crack of dawn again this Black Friday in search of shopping bargains as they become savvier about their annual holiday purchases.

“MasterCard data shows that for retailers in the top gift-buying categories, Black Friday is indeed the biggest day of the season -- and people know to get out of bed early to cash in on the myriad of bargains that are offered in the wee hours of the morning,” said Larry Flanagan, chief marketing officer of MasterCard Worldwide. “In fact, for electronics and appliances stores, nearly half of their purchase volume occurs before 10 a.m. -- with the early hour from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m.* being the busiest.”

But while this year’s extended season begins earlier and shoppers are getting out of bed early on Black Friday, the real Cyber Monday won’t be until later this year. Cyber Monday, a term that refers to the Monday following Thanksgiving, is typically thought of as the busiest day for online shopping. In 2005, the busiest online shopping day in terms of total MasterCard-processed e-commerce transactions was Dec. 5, and last year, it was a week after that. With Thanksgiving falling early this year on Nov. 22, this year’s Cyber Monday will likely be nearly three weeks later on Dec. 10.

The popularity of online shopping has exploded, thanks to the growing ease and use of the Internet and improved retail Web sites and delivery options. The MasterCard Worldwide Holiday Shopping Insights Report found that nearly three-quarters (69 percent) of shoppers will at least partly shop online this year. And more than one-quarter of shoppers who did not shop online last year for holiday gifts intend to shop online this year.

On average, consumers surveyed who plan to shop on the Web intend to make 40 percent of their purchases online, spending $253. Consumers surveyed said that books, CDs and DVDs are going to be the most common online purchases during this holiday shopping season.

The MasterCard Holiday Shopping Insights Report offers other unique statistics and facts showing how consumers will shop this holiday season, including predicting the strong popularity of prepaid gift cards, the continued displacement of cash and checks as preferred payments, and a growing reliance on debit as a preferred means of payment. Among other key findings:

* For the first time, gift cards are the most favored gift to give. Gift card appeal has increased by 10 percent this year. In fact, one-third of respondents said they intend to spend most of their holiday budgets on gift cards/gift certificates this year -- more than on clothing and toys.
* Debit cards may help shoppers stay on budget. More than one-third of U.S. consumers surveyed (34 percent) said they intend to use their debit cards most often to pay for holiday gifts this year -- more than credit cards (29 percent) and cash (22 percent).
* Average total holiday spending ranges from $300-$700 USD. U.S. consumers plan to spend approximately $610 USD on holiday gifts this year.

As always, MasterCard encourages consumers to spend responsibly and offers robust consumer education programs that are specifically designed to help consumers develop sound money management skills. The MasterCard Debt Know How™ program offers free, easy-to-understand debt management tools and a variety of online resources designed to help Americans successfully manage and reduce debt. For additional information go to

The MasterCard Holiday Shopping Insights Report was commissioned by MasterCard Worldwide and was conducted online by Ipsos-Insight Corporation, an independent research company. Interviews were conducted in late September and early October 2007. Although the findings cited here are representative of the responses from U.S. consumers, more than 4,500 interviews were conducted in five countries, in addition to the United States: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Mexico. An online methodology was used in all countries except for Mexico, where a telephone methodology was used. Results from the 2007 survey were compared to 2006 results in the U.S. Data was weighted by age and gender to be nationally representative. Subgroups were stat-tested against each other at the 90 percent confidence interval. In addition, MasterCard based other findings cited in this release on information from billions of payment card transactions over the past several years.

About MasterCard Worldwide
MasterCard Worldwide advances global commerce by providing a critical economic link among financial institutions, businesses, cardholders and merchants worldwide. As a franchisor, processor and advisor, MasterCard develops and markets payment solutions, processes over 16 billion transactions each year, and provides industry-leading analysis and consulting services to financial institution customers and merchants. Through its family of brands, including MasterCard®, Maestro® and Cirrus®, MasterCard serves consumers and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. For more information go to

Forward-Looking Statements
Statements in this press release which are not historical facts, including statements about MasterCard’s plans, strategies, beliefs and expectations, are forward-looking and subject to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made. Accordingly, except for the company’s ongoing obligations under the U.S. federal securities laws, the company does not intend to update or otherwise revise the forward-looking information to reflect actual results of operations, changes in financial condition, changes in estimates, expectations or assumptions, changes in general economic or industry conditions or other circumstances arising and/or existing since the preparation of this press release or to reflect the occurrence of any unanticipated events. Such forward-looking statements include, without limitation:

* the company’s performance illustrating the strength of its diverse, global business;
* the company’s ability to benefit from positive secular trends and growth in international and emerging markets;
* the company’s ability to align with its customers;
* the company’s ability to deliver on its commitment of best-in-class dedicated customer account teams;
* the company’s ability to locate appropriate talent to help MasterCard and its customers;
* the company’s business results and cash position enabling it to fund an incremental repurchase program;
* the company’s ability to deliver on its commitment to enhance shareholder value.

Actual results may differ materially from such forward-looking statements for a number of reasons, including those set forth in the company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including the company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2006, the Company’s Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K that have been filed with the SEC during 2007, as well as reasons including difficulties, delays or the inability of the company to achieve its strategic initiatives set forth above. Factors other than those listed above could also cause the company’s results to differ materially from expected results.

*Central Standard Time


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