Christmas spending: What the figures say about consumer sentiment

Infometrics principal economist Brad Olsen says Kiwis have still ‘‘had a good time’’ at the shops in the lead-up to Christmas and on Boxing Day, but there are underlying signs of restraint. The nearly $2.9 billion spent across the Worldline payment network over the three weeks to Christmas was up just 0.8 per cent on the same time last year, even as inflation remains above 7 per cent. Kiwis have been spending more this Christmas but getting less bang for their buck. Olsen said high inflation and rapidly rising interest rates in 2022 have created increased economic concerns towards the end of 2022, with consumer confidence tanking to the lowest rates on record, according to both the Westpac McDermott Miller and ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence polls released before Christmas. ‘‘Although spending levels have been high, inflation-adjusted spending volumes suggest that this higher spending was to put more expensive presents under the tree, but fewer of them, as Christmas budgets had to pay more for the same presents.’’ Worldline, covers about 70 per cent of online transactions (excluding hospitality) and its figures for the three weeks to Christmas show the average transaction size for this time period in 2022 was $56.76, down 2.8 per cent from last year. Olsen said the lower spending over the six weeks leading up to Christmas (down 0.7 per cent ) indicates that there had been some earlier spending restraint, but the usual Christmas rush pushed spending activity above last year’s levels. Boxing Day spending of just over $100m through the Worldline network was up 2.6 per cent from Boxing Day last year, meaning that it too suffered from higher spending but lower actual volumes as inflation remains high. However, Boxing Day isn’t the spending bonanza it was previously, with spending on Black Friday being closer to $150m, and spending in the lead up to Christmas topping $200m on peak spending days. Advertisement Advertise with NZME. The spending figures show a divergence in regional spending fortunes leading up to, and after, Christmas this year. Infometrics principal economist and director Brad Olsen. Photo / Jess Wong In general, spending in Auckland and Wellington looks considerably softer than the national average, with lower spending compared to a year ago in both areas in the three weeks leading up to Christmas. ‘‘This trend reinforces previous data suggesting that main metro areas are seeing a faster pull-back in spending,’’ he said. A number of regional areas, particularly in the South Island, are seeing stronger spending than the national average, with a better summer than last year as international tourism has fired back up and visitor numbers recover. Across the regions, spending for the three weeks prior to Christmas Day was highest in West Coast (up 10.7 per cent), Marlborough (up 7.7 per cent) and Otago (up 7.5 per cent). Read More Boxing Day spending up on last year – just… Diana Clement: It’s time for a spending diary exercise … What Kiwis are spending up on in the week before Christmas … But pre-Christmas spending in December was below 2021 levels in Auckland/Northland (down 0.9 per cent), Bay of Plenty (-0.9 per cent), Wellington (-1.4 per cent) and Gisborne (-2.1 per cent). Spending through core retail merchants (excluding hospitality) in Worldline NZ’s payments network over the full six weeks of pre-Christmas spending, which includes Black Friday sales, shows spending reached $5.21 billion. That was down 0.7 per cent on the same six weeks in 2021 and up 13.6 per cent on 2019. Advertisement Advertise with NZME. “Together with the spending surge slowing on Christmas Eve, this made for a busy but ultimately not record-breaking six-week pre-Christmas shopping period,” said Bruce Proffit, Worldline NZ chief sales officer. Save share Share this article Reminder, this is a Premium article and requires a subscription to read. facebook copy link twitter linkedin reddit email

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Published on : 2022-12-27 05:00:00

Source :nzherald

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