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Christmas is coming – albeit slowly

Christmas is coming – albeit slowly

Figures released today by Paymark show that while the build up to Christmas did begin in November, spending during the month could best be described as a slight intermission breaking up the busy Rugby World Cup period and the pending Christmas rush.

Paymark, which processes around 75 per cent of all electronic transactions in New Zealand, processed nearly 77 million transactions worth more than $3.9 billion across the nation in November, representing a 3.2 per cent year-on-year increase in terms of value.

Paymark spokesman, Phil Deason, says that over the past year or so Kiwis have kept a close watch on their outgoings and this appears to still be the case before the busiest shopping time of the year.

“The pre-Christmas spend up typically begins mid-November and it has with spending in the last seven days of November up 9.3 per cent as compared to the first seven days of the month. However, the annual increase in value of 3.2 per cent for the month is slightly below the trend of recent months,” says Deason.

“Although annual growth has been slow Christmas this year is still on track to be busier than last year and we are still planning for a very hectic last few days before Christmas Day,” he adds.

Not surprisingly, during the immediate post-RWC period, annual growth rates slowed from double-digit levels amongst cafes/restaurants (+6.5 per cent year-on-year) and bars/clubs (+2.2 per cent year-on-year).

The annual growth rate in the accommodation sector remained low, up only 0.5 per cent year-on-year, however spending at appliance stores was up 7.0 per cent. Other sectors to experience a pick up in growth were beauty/hairdressing (+5.7 per cent year-on-year) and dry cleaning/laundry services (+13.1 per cent year-on-year).

Auckland/Northland remains amongst the fastest growing regions in terms of value (+4.8 per cent year-on-year) but the peak growth rate was recorded in South Canterbury (+7.6 per cent year-on-year) [corrected]. Meanwhile spending was below year-ago levels in Wanganui (-1.9 per cent year-on-year) and Canterbury (-0.6 per cent year-on-year).

In terms of volume, transactions were below year-ago levels in six of the 17 regions and only two regions reached above 3.5 per cent annual growth – South Canterbury and Auckland/Northland with 5.4 per cent and 3.8 per cent growth respectively.

As in recent months, the annual growth of debit card (+0.9 per cent) usage remained low while credit card transaction growth edged higher (+2.2 per cent).


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