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Christmas spending building steadily

Christmas spending building steadily

5 December 2016

The earthquake of Monday 14 November caused a drop in spending on the day in most New Zealand regions. Underlying spending through the Paymark network was 3.0% or $4.2 million below the level of the previous Monday. A similar estimate of the national effect is derived from the modest 0.7% annual underlying growth rate recorded across the country on the day, this growth rate being 2.8% below the 3.5% average growth rate over the previous week.

The annual growth rate was slightly higher the next day, Tuesday (1.4%), and had resumed a more normal pattern from Wednesday.

Compared to the same days in 2015, any spending decline over the Monday and Tuesday was highest in the combined Marlborough/Kaikoura region (-14.0%) and in the Wellington region (-12.1%), with the dollar effect being higher in Wellington.

Underlying spending through Paymark ($million)
Region14-15th Nov 2016Same Mon/Tue 2015Change ($)Change (%)
Rest of NZ$265.1$258.3+$6.8+2.6%
Total NZ$291.9$288.8+$3.1+1.1%

Figure 1: Underlying spending through Paymark after Monday 14th earthquake

By Wednesday, growth had resumed in Wellington, although not within the Accommodation sector until the following Tuesday(22nd). Spending was still below year-ago levels in Marlborough/Kaikoura by the end of month.

Otherwise the interest in retail markets was the start of the busy pre-Christmas period. Spending did jump noticeably, as per usual, on Thursday-Saturday 17-20th November and again one week later. Underlying spending was highest for the month on Friday 25 November but the growth rate on the day was in keeping with other days that week, indicating a steady rise in Christmas spending in New Zealand rather than the frenzied Thanksgiving long weekend in the US.

Over the last full week of November, the underlying annual spending growth was solid if unspectacular at 5.1%. Accommodation and liquor retail merchants recorded the fastest annual growth during the week.

Combined, the earthquake and start to Christmas spending added up to underlying growth between October and November of0.2% when seasonally adjusted. The annual underlying growth rate for the month remains high at 6.9%.

Figure 2: Underlying spending through Paymark by month

Over the month, the Accommodation sector recorded 17.4% more spending through Paymark, suggestive of another strong tourism season. Also strong was Electrical and electronics spending (+11.0%).

Both sectors were very strong in Hawke’s Bay (up 26.5% and 20.4% respectively) during the month, contributing to this region recording the fastest annual underlying growth rate (up 11.8%).

At the other extreme, the earthquake meant lowest annual growth was reported at Marlborough (+1.3%), which includes Kaikoura in Paymark statistics.

Canterbury also experienced weak spending growth during the second half of the month but this had been the case before the quakes, suggesting the cause of this weakness lies elsewhere.

PAYMARK All Cards Data (Nov 2016 versus same month 2015)
Regiontransactions millionsAnnual % changetransactions $millionsAnnual % change
Auckland/Northland 42.118.9%$2,116.57.8%
Waikato 7.608.2%$350.06.8%
BOP 6.8211.4%$328.29.8%
Gisborne 0.9711.8%$40.98.2%
Taranaki 2.196.3%$97.94.5%
Hawke's Bay 3.1215.0%$139.411.8%
Wanganui 1.0910.0%$44.67.9%
Palmerston North 3.239.0%$156.67.1%
Wairarapa 0.9810.9%$43.59.0%
Wellington 10.687.2%$462.24.9%
Nelson 1.957.6%$95.42.5%
Marlborough 1.063.8%$53.61.3%
West Coast 0.606.2%$31.55.0%
Canterbury 11.456.5%$553.93.4%
South Canterbury 1.537.2%$77.05.5%
Otago 5.5110.8%$276.29.6%
Southland 2.158.3%$111.28.5%
New Zealand103.868.6%$5,032.66.9%
* Underlying spending excludes large clients moving to or from Paymark within last 12 months

Figure 3: Paymark All Cards data (November 2016 versus November 2015)


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