Purchase-based Mastercard has launched an initiative to help businesses and governments in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic through the use of data it collects.
Dubbing the initiative “Recovery Insights,” Mastercard has a set of analytical tools that “can provide some certainty today and support data-driven decision-making for a more digital tomorrow.”
New York City, Los Angeles, London, Madrid, and Arizona are among the governments already using the program.
“Enabling smarter decisions with better outcomes is our goal,” said Raj Seshadri, president of data and services at Mastercard. “Our insights are helping apparel brands refine their inventory to address the rise in e-commerce, grocers fine-tune store hours to give at-risk shoppers peace of mind, and governments guide services to fuel local economies.”
Mastercard is not charging governments and select businesses for use of the data and analytical tools. The credit card company’s data helps with budget planning, optimizing aid disbursement, understanding which merchants are open for business and prioritizing investment to support those most impacted by the pandemic.
U.S. small-business owners are using the tools to better understand consumer spending trends, while central banks around the world are collaborating closely with the Mastercard Economics Institute to better understand changing market conditions through regular COVID-19 economic impact trackers.
In New York City, retail sales were down 44 percent at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, according to Mastercard. Policymakers needed to understand how the steep decline in consumer spending would impact the city’s sales tax revenue in order to adjust their budgets.
Mastercard pointed out how the data analytics also is being used by a New York City nonprofit, the Partnership for New York City. The nonprofit provides its business, civic and labor members a regular snapshot of sales performance in New York City sales performance in the broader context of consumer spending trends.
Seshadri said that speed in evaluating the meaning of new data is paramount.
“What may be true today may not be true next month. When a large U.S. grocery store chain wanted to understand decline and recovery curves for supermarkets and restaurants to help them better forecast and plan for impacts to their own stores, we jumped right in. We worked with them to develop a new Daily Market Trend Index, which is now available for other customers and other markets,” Seshadri said.