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December Spending Modest Despite Pre-Christmas Flurry

Media Release
Date: 8-January-13

December Spending Modest Despite Pre-Christmas Flurry

Figures released today by Paymark, which processes about 75 per cent of all electronic transactions in New Zealand, show that December 2012 spending was up for the third month in a row.

The seasonally adjusted total spend through the Paymark network increased 0.5 per cent from November to December 2012, the third consecutive monthly gain.

Yet, despite the positive spending in the week leading up to Christmas, the December month in total increased a below average 2.3 per cent year-on-year.

Paymark Head of Sales & Marketing, Paul Whiston, says when the figures are adjusted for seasonal fluctuations however, the growth rate sits at a more positive 4.3 per cent.

“The fact that there were five Sundays and Mondays during December, typically slower days of the week, compared with only four in 2011 affects the raw year-on-year comparison and sometimes doesn’t tell the full story.

“While we appreciate that it’s still tough out there for some retailers, the seasonally adjusted numbers paint a more realistic picture of what’s going on and reflect what we think is a encouraging finish to 2012.

“It was positive to see pre-Christmas spending up once again on the previous year, and the 13.4 per cent lift on Boxing Day was a bonus for retailers trying to entice customers through their door with great bargains.”

Annual spending growth throughout December was high amongst cafes and restaurants (+7.1%), liquor retailers (+8.0%) and department stores (+6.3%).

In addition, housing related spending was still strong during December, as people splashed out at appliance stores (+10.3%) and hardware stores (+9.2%).

It appears a number of households have welcomed new members this Christmas or certainly spoiled existing ones, as spending in pet shops was up 7.5 per cent year-on-year.

Nationwide, during December, the volume of card transactions was 3.6 per cent higher than a year ago, with debit card value (+3.1%) increasing faster than credit card value (+1.4%).

“When you look at 2012 as a whole, spending through the Paymark network has risen by 3.3 per cent in value and 3.2 per cent by number of transactions,” says Whiston.

“In 2012 Paymark processed 932 million transactions, totaling $46.5 billion. The average transaction value of $49.92 was 0.2 per cent above the 2011 average.

“These annual growth rates remain below those recorded before 2008, which is indicative of the slower economic growth since the global financial crisis.

“However, one of the promising features of 2012 was the relatively strong finish, with spending through the Paymark network increasing month-on-month in the final three months of the year and we hope to see this momentum continue into 2013.”

PAYMARK Regional Data (December 2012 versus same month 2011)
Volume (million transactions)Value of spending ($millions)
RegionLast YearCurrent Year Volume DifferenceLast YearCurrent Year Value Difference
Auckland/Northland 33.3334.593.8%$1,821.2 $1,865.0 2.4%
Waikato 6.536.824.3%$340.4 $350.3 2.9%
BOP 5.785.953.0%$308.2 $313.2 1.6%
Gisborne 0.950.971.7%$44.2 $45.1 2.0%
Taranaki/Taupo$108.0 $109.6 1.5%
Hawkes Bay 2.542.654.3%$131.1 $134.6 2.7%
Wanganui$46.5 $46.2 -0.6%
Palmerston North 2.772.77-0.3%$144.5 $146.0 1.1%
Wairarapa 0.860.882.6%$43.3 $44.1 1.9%
Wellington 9.189.442.8%$454.2 $458.0 0.8%
Nelson 1.771.843.9%$95.1 $97.2 2.1%
Marlborough 0.991.022.8%$55.2 $56.5 2.5%
West Coast 0.610.621.2%$36.8 $36.2 -1.5%
Canterbury 9.339.936.4%$505.5 $528.6 4.6%
South Canterbury 1.401.442.7%$81.8 $83.2 1.8%
Otago 4.434.614.0%$243.7 $252.5 3.6%
Southland$117.2 $114.8 -2.0%
New Zealand 85.6888.763.6%$4,621.2 $4,728.9 2.3%
(growth rate this time last year)1.9%3.4%


About Paymark
In November 2009, Paymark honoured a significant business, retail, and economic milestone with the celebration of its 20th birthday. Since its inception in 1989 when three banks came together to form Electronic Transaction Services Limited (now known as Paymark Limited), Paymark has grown to become an integral part of New Zealand’s economic landscape with arguably the best EFTPOS system in the world.
Quick facts:
- By March 1990 volumes through the network exceeded 1 million transactions a month
- 1994 the company increased its computer processing power to accommodate volumes exceeding 10 million transactions a month
- 28 August 1996, Paymark makes history by installing an off-shore EFTPOS terminal at a general store, Scott Base, Antarctica
- In 1998 Paymark passed another milestone as the 1 billionth EFTPOS transaction was processed
- In February 2012, Paymark processed its 10 billionth transaction
- More than 74,000 merchants and 116,000 terminals are currently connected to the network that is now 3DES and EMV compliant. Today, the Paymark network processes over 75% of all electronic transactions in the New Zealand retail market on behalf of more than 50 card issuers and acquirers.


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