Learn how to leverage consumer transaction data for competitive analysis, industry research, and customer behavior trends

Staying ahead of the competition is an ongoing challenge in the corporate world. In a sea of data and purported solutions for better understanding how your performance stacks up against your key competitors, there lies a source of truth that has been long-trusted by hedge funds but is only recently becoming popular amongst global companies and corporate brands: alternative data. Alternative data can mean anything from credit and debit card transaction data to ecommerce receipt data to website traffic intelligence. Where industry and competitive intelligence used to be gleaned from expensive and aged research reports or through consultants, now near real-time data can be accessed through a simple platform, like Consumer Edge’s Vision product.

Consumer Edge is a leader in alternative data, with decades of experience providing the biggest hedge funds and investors in the world with consumer credit and debit card spending data. Through CE Vision, you can analyze how much consumers are actually spending across brands and channels. By better understanding your competitive landscape and your customers’ behavior, you can better align your strategy for success. In this article, we delve into the CE Vision Comparison dashboard; fueled by Consumer Edge leading alternative data, it provides at-a-glance views and granular detail for competitive benchmarking.

Evaluating Customer Growth vs Key Competitors

A fundamental purpose of competitive benchmarking is to assess customer growth in comparison to key competitors. Traditional metrics might provide a surface-level view, but alternative data sources offer a more comprehensive understanding, tapping into actual purchase data. In the example below, the CE Vision Comparison dashboard takes a look at the Apparel industry, the Footwear & Athletic Apparel subindustry, and focuses on brands Nike and Lululemon. This initial view provides insights into customer behavior, preferences, and emerging trends that might be overlooked by conventional methods. Looking at year-over-year growth, we can see Nike’s trajectory compared to Lululemon, and also understand whether they are outperforming or underperforming compared to their Footwear & Athletic apparel subindustry or compared to the entire Apparel industry as a whole. Diving deeper into this growth module allows for a disaggregation between transactions and average ticket value, offering an opportunity to lean in or course-correct.

CE Vision: Comparison dashboard showing how an apparel brand might analyze Nike and Lululemon brand data as well as data for the Apparel industry and Footwear & Athletic Apparel subindustry.

Understanding Transaction Volume Growth vs Competitors

Keeping a pulse on your company’s number of transactions relative to that of your competitors and industry is valuable for benchmarking success. Perhaps more valuable broadly in your organization is the visualization of percentage growth in your number of transactions over time, compared against your competitors and industry. In the CE Vision Comparison dashboard, Transaction volume growth is mapped to illustrate percentage growth. This information can fuel decisions about whether to invest in driving traffic and conversion or whether more effort should be put into basket building. This analysis can be useful for teams like Demand Planning, Supply Chain, Product Development, and Marketing. Viewed holistically with the other Comparison dashboard modules, this data positions you to better understand sales trends and customer behavior.

Benchmarking Against Industry Trends

Measuring your growth against industry benchmarks is essential for strategic planning. Alternative data allows businesses to go beyond standard industry reports and gain real-time insights. By examining growth trends, market shifts, and emerging players in your space through real customer data, you can proactively position your business in line with industry trajectories. In CE Vision, you can analyze online vs. offline spend, impute market share, cut your data by varying time periods down to the day level, and even monitor the effects of holidays, new product releases, and key promotional periods.

Analyzing the spend amount percentage growth module or number of transactions module in the Comparison dashboard gives you a true read on how you’re performing versus your subindustry or industry. For example, in the dashboard view above, number of transactions in both the Footwear & Athletic Apparel subindustry and the overall Apparel industry show slightly downward trends, while Lululemon and Nike are trending slightly upward. The same can be seen in spend amount growth. This warrants a deeper look into the drivers of these brands’ continued strong performance despite a slowdown in their respective industry—perhaps higher prices, a shift in strategy targeting higher income customers, or different geographic targeting? (All of this follow up research can be pursued in other CE Vision dashboards with ease.) The data also compels companies to further understand how their shoppers are cross-shopping, and how their demographics and geographies breakdown. This proactive stance ensures that businesses are not just reactive to market changes but are driving transformative growth.

Competitive benchmarking with alternative data is not just a strategy; it’s a mindset shift. For corporate prospects looking to thrive in a competitive landscape, embracing cutting edge data sources is the key to unlocking unparalleled insights. Whether it’s evaluating customer growth, understanding loyalty, or analyzing industry benchmarks, the power of alternative data lies in its ability to reveal the hidden gems that traditional methods might miss…or take longer to unlock. As businesses embark on this data-driven journey, they position themselves not just as players in the market but as trailblazers shaping the future.


Consumer Edge is the leader in data-driven insights focused on the global consumer. Rooted in consumer transaction data, Consumer Edge is the only provider of global revenue signals with insights into hundreds of industries, subindustries, tickers, and symbols year-round. Reach out if you’d like to leverage CE Vision for competitive benchmarking, or explore the value of our other products that deliver CE’s unrivaled consumer intelligence.