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Tourists Keep Some Business Sectors on a High

It’s Back to Business as Usual for Most– but Tourists Keep Some Sectors on a High

Auckland, 11 March 2014 - Electronic transaction figures released today by Paymark show merchants continue to experience spending momentum into the new year but with less rush than experienced mid to late 2013, excepting amongst those sectors linked closely to tourist dollars where spending continues to accelerate.

Off the back of record-breaking growth in December and strong trading in January, total spending through the Paymark network during February was up 7.4 per cent year on year.

However, excluding spending at petrol stations and supermarkets during February that figure drops to 6.2 per cent year on year, slightly lower than the average of the last six months.

Paymark’s Head of Customer Relations, Mark Spicer, says that the levelling out of spending growth can be attributed to many factors but most importantly he believes the data show we are reaching a more mature stage of the business cycle.

“First, there is the seasonal element whereby it’s back to business for the majority of Kiwis with work and school very much back in session and that shows across most spending.

“Of a more cyclical nature, spending growth related to housing sector is now moderating with growth at hardware (+5.1 per cent year on year) and appliance (+4.9 per cent year on year) stores dropping below recent averages.

“In contrast it looks like those sectors closely linked to entertainment and hospitality continue to trade strongly. This is perhaps a nod to the higher than previous level of tourists travelling in the country at present,” adds Spicer.

Accommodation providers around the country experienced year on year growth of 14 per cent during February, cafes and restaurants were similarly buoyant (12.5 per cent) as were bars and clubs (+ 10.1 per cent) and takeaways (+10.5 per cent.

Low growth remains at chemists (+1.3 per cent) while the other low-growth sector of late – clothing shops (+4.4 per cent) – has picked up slightly.

Looking around the country, Marlborough continues to lead the charge with annual spending growth of 12.1 per cent, Palmerston North follows close behind with year on year growth of 9.2 per cent.

Canterbury and Otago were also strong during February with year on year growth of 7.9 per cent and 7.8 per cent respectively.

Conversely retailers in Wellington and Wanganui saw low growth again with the value of sales in these regions growing only 2.6 per cent and 2.9 per cent year on year respectively.

In terms of the volume of transactions Kiwis made during February, we swiped our cards 5.79 million times more this February than we did last February (+7.8 per cent growth).

Credit card usage remains strong, up 17.6 per cent, year on year while debit card spending remains consistent at 4.8 per cent.

PAYMARK Regional Data (February 2014 versus same month 2013)

RegionVolume (million transactions)Last YearVolume (million transactions) Current YearVolume DifferenceValue of spending ($millions) Last YearValue of spending ($millions) Current YearValue Difference
Hawke’s Bay2.122.287.3%$103.6$109.55.7%
Palmerston North2.322.497.2%$124.6$136.09.2%
West Coast0.540.564.5%$31.8$32.83.2%
South Canterbury1.181.223.4%$65.5$66.41.4%
New Zealand74.1979.987.8%$3,794.4$4,076.17.4%
(growth rate this time last year)1.8%1.8%

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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