Amex Commercial Client T&E Spending Grows to $28B in Q1

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Travel and entertainment spending by American Express U.S. commercial customers increased 4 percent year over year in the first quarter even as the company reported “soft” spending trends from its small and midsized commercial customers.

The 4 percent increase brought total T&E spending by U.S. commercial customers to $28 billion in the quarter, up from $25 billion in the first quarter of 2023 and from $26 billion in the fourth quarter of 2023, Amex reported. U.S. commercial customer spending on goods and services was $99 billion, up 1 percent year over year but down from $105 billion in the previous quarter.

Total spending, inclusive of T&E and goods and services, was up 5 percent year over year among Amex’s large and global U.S. customers, which account for just under a fifth of total commercial customer spending. Among U.S. SMEs, the increase was 1 percent.

“The SME billed business has been in that 1 percent to 2 percent range for a year now,” Amex CFO Christophe Le Caillec said in an earnings call on Friday. “We think that this is macro-driven, and we have a ton of data that confirms that it’s not specific to American Express, and the rest of the industry is experiencing similar trends.”

T&E spending by international customers, both consumer and commercial combined, increased 14 percent year over year in the first quarter to $27 billion. Spending by international commercial customers on both T&E and goods and services was up 11 percent year over year and made up 35 percent of Amex’s total international business.

Amex chairman and CEO Stephen Squeri said the company expects continued growth in its international business.

“International acceptance continues to grow and continues to improve,” Squeri said in the earnings call. “And when you look at the international business growing at the rate it’s growing and coverage continuing to grow, we see that as a long runway for future growth.”

Amex reported total revenues of $15.8 billion for the quarter, up 11 percent year over year due to increased card member spending and higher net interest income. Its first-quarter net income was $2.4 billion, up from $1.8 billion in the first quarter of 2023.

RELATED: Amex Q4 results

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